Judge tosses confession from accomplice of alleged Big Island cop killer

Judge tosses confession from accomplice of alleged Big Island cop killer

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Important evidence connected to an investigation into the murder of a Hawaii County police officer has been thrown out by a state judge, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Officer Bronson Kaliloa was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Puna in June of 2018.

The suspect in the killing, Justin Waiki, led law enforcement officials on a days-long manhunt across Hawaii Island that culminated in a shootout. Waiki was killed, a sergeant was injured in the melee, and a woman ― one of Waiki’s alleged accomplices ― sustained a gunshot wound to the leg and a broken femur.

That woman, 36-year-old Jamie Jason, had surgery at the Hilo Medical Center following the incident. A few hours after the operation, according to law enforcement sources, she was visited by detectives investigating the case.

The visit, which was videotaped by police, included a bedside confession by Jason that Waiki was the killer.

The video recording of the hospital interview, which has been obtained by Hawaii News Now, begins with a disclaimer.

“I’m a police officer. I want to inform you of your rights,” an officer is heard saying in the recording. The officer then reads Jason a Miranda warning and confirms with her that she does not want a lawyer present.

Hawaii County Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa was killed by Justin Waiki in July 2018
Hawaii County Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa was killed by Justin Waiki in July 2018

As the video continues, Jamie Jason admits to hiding out with Waiki in the days after he murdered police officer Bronson Kaliloa. Jason says Waiki drove up to a mutual friend’s home the day after the shooting.

“I ran outside and I gave him a hug, thinking that I wasn’t going to see him," says Jason. “He goes, ‘Grab your ****. Let’s go.’”

Jason says she went back into the house and got her purse, then left with Waiki.

She goes on to reveal details about their time on the run, saying that they went to Waimea first ― and that Waiki didn’t show any emotion about what he did.

“He had no remorse ... which was kind of the scary thing,” she said.

Justin Waiki
Justin Waiki

The recorded interrogation is considered a key piece of evidence in Jason’s case. She’s accused of hindering prosecution and attempted murder ― but the confession was recently thrown out by a Hilo state judge.

“Due to her physical and mental condition, she did not voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waive her rights,” the judge wrote.

The judge also said that the officers who carried out the interrogation “had not received medical clearance” from Jason’s doctors.

Tommy Aiu, a former federal agent and police officer, says suppressed confessions are a blow to prosecutors but likely just one piece of the puzzle.

“The optimal evidence is a confession, so if the detectives went to her hospital room to get a confession, that’s within the realm of the investigation,” said Aiu.

Knowing what kind of medication a person has been given is also an important factor, according to one local defense attorney.

“Doctors should be spoken to regarding whether or not the medications impair your ability to understand the questions,” said Michael Green.

Prosecutors are appealing the judge’s ruling, saying the video shows she was lucid and clearly advised of her rights.

Jason is one of four defendants who were considered accomplices to Waiki after Kaliloa was killed.

The other three want to move forward with trial instead of sitting in jail waiting for the appellate court ruling. Each of the four suspects remain in custody, unable to post bail.

Authorities say Malia Lajala, Krystle Ferreira and Jorge Pagan-Torres were also in the Toyota 4Runner that was stopped at a checkpoint in South Point.

That’s when Waiki, who was hiding under a blanket with Jason, jumped out and started shooting.

Accused Waiki accomplices
Accused Waiki accomplices

The attorney for Pagan-Torres, Keith Shigetomi, says his client has been ready for trial and hopes that will happen soon.

“We have a right to a speedy trial and that’s what we’re asking for,” Shigetomi says ― adding that the suppression of Jason’s bedside confession has nothing to do with Pagan-Torres’ defense.

“It is not my client’s statement it is not any of the other two clients’ statements."

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