Kona judge recuses himself from murder case after stumbling upon crime scene

Ioane Asagra joins a hearing via Zoom call.
Ioane Asagra joins a hearing via Zoom call.(Hawaii Court System)
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 5:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A murder case in Kona is postponed after the judge stumble upon the scene of the crime.

Kona District Court Judge Joseph P. Florendo Jr. recused himself from presiding over the case of 27-year-old Ioane Asagra.

He’s accused of shooting and killing Joey Richmond last month at a spot known as “End of the World” on Hawaii Island. Prosecutors say he also burned the victim’s BMW.

Bail was supposed to be set for Asagra Monday, but instead Judge Florendo recused himself because he said he saw the vehicle the day after it was burned.

Judicial code prohibits a judge from proceeding with a case if they feel they can’t be impartial or their impartiality could be questioned.

“I came upon the scene of the vehicle that was allegedly apart of the incident the day after, so I don’t think I should be sitting in as finder of fact here,” Florendo said Monday.

Asagra new preliminary hearing is set for Friday with a new judge to be determined.

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