Trial begins for suspect accused in brutal beating of Kona security guard

Trial begins for suspect accused in brutal beating of Kona security guard
Surveillance video captured the brutal beating of a hotel security guard at the Kona Seaside. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

KONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The trial for three suspects accused in a violent beating that was caught on camera on the Big Island last year got under way on Thursday.

Police investigators say Wesley Samoa, Lama Lauvao and Natasha Tautalatasi are responsible for an attack that left John Kanui — a security guard at the Kona Seaside Hotel — in critical condition.

Investigators believe Kanui approached the three suspects just after midnight on September 17, 2018 and asked them to turn down their music.

[WARNING: Some of our viewers may find the violent content of this video disturbing.]

GRAPHIC: Beating of Kona security guard caught on camera

The encounter, which was caught on a nearby security camera, escalated quickly after that point. Kanui is pulled from his golf cart, and the three suspects can be seen punching and kicking him in the face ― even after he appears to be unconscious.

Kanui suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown to Oahu for medical treatment. He is still recovering from his injuries.

The suspects later pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder. Opening statements in the case were heard Thursday.

Prosecutors have since said that because Kanui was older than 60, the defendants could face a tougher penalty at trial.

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