Prosecutors revisit assault of elderly man after ‘issues’ with initial investigation

They initially opted not to pursue charges against the suspect, 28-year-old Daniel Reid Aikau, saying there were “issues that came up during the investigation”
Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 4:51 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 31, 2022 at 5:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Prosecutors are revisiting the case of an elderly man’s assault on Oahu’s North Shore.

They initially opted not to pursue charges against the suspect, 28-year-old Daniel Reid Aikau, saying there were “issues that came up during the investigation” and they were unable to charge the suspect immediately.

Aikau, was arrested for second-degree assault on Friday. But he was released without charges on Saturday afternoon.

“And then once they make an arrest, they have 48 hours in which to charge him and they have to use that time, diligently working the investigation, to get the proper information,” Retired Deputy Chief John McCarthy explained. “Not conduct the investigation but get the information and data that they need to confer with the prosecutors.”

Prosecutors first claimed there was a lack of evidence to prove the assault, despite the incident being caught on surveillance video.

In a statement, the city Prosecutor’s Office said it worked “closely with HPD on this matter and decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

On Sunday, Hawaii News Now followed up with the office for further explanation. In a statement Matt Dvonch of the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office said, “The case remains under active investigation and we are hopeful that as we review the existing evidence, as well as additional evidence that may be uncovered as the investigation continues, charges can be filed.”

“Now for them to go back on that they’re going to have to explain to the judge and to the attorney as to why there was a change in that decision,” said Criminal Defense Attorney Victor Bakke.

“I want him behind bars because what he did is not right,” said the victim’s daughter, Katarina Fonua. “And you don’t just beat up people because you’re upset about them.”

Surveillance footage from a home in Laie Point shows the interaction between the victim and the suspect.

According to the video, the incident happened around 8 a.m. on July 19.

The video shows a dark car apparently making a sudden U-turn in front of a white truck on a narrow road, causing the truck to make an abrupt stop. Moments later, there was a verbal exchange.

“He was just saying, ‘hey, drive safe like don’t drive crazy,’” said Fonua, describing what her father told the suspect. “You know, what any other parent would do.”

The dark car then pulled over to the side of the road and the suspect can be seen getting out of his car, immediately walking over to the white truck. Within seconds, the video shows the 70-year-old man falling to the ground as the suspect appears to punch him repeatedly.

“Like really, you’re going to do that to an old man? He’s not even fighting you anymore, he’s just trying to get away from you,” said Fonua.

Bakke said it’s clearly a crime.

“And that is a classic road rage, you can see that the person in the black car was clearly the aggressor,” said Bakke. “He turned around, he could have kept driving, he didn’t, he got out of the car first, and he went across the road, right up to the guy’s car and confronted him.”

“That is not self-defense, that is aggression.”

“Nobody deserves to get beaten like that, but these road incidents can escalate all the way from, just a exchange of words to a homicide,” said McCarthy. “You know, one of the best things to do is just let it go, drive home, ignore it, and drive to the police station.”

This story will be updated.

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