New trial ordered for 3 suspects previously convicted in 2018 beating of security guard
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new trial has been ordered for three suspects previously convicted of beating a Kona hotel security guard in 2018.
The state Court of Appeals ruled the prosecution violated rules during the trial of Wesley Samoa, Natisha Tautalatasi, and Lama Lauvao by using video of the security guard, John Kanui, in a hospital.
The court found the use of the video, which followed previous testimony about his condition, presented the potential of unfair prejudice.
Retired Judge Randall Lee said the court probably should have limited the evidence to a doctor’s testimony.
“What the court was basically saying is that video would inflame a juror to be prejudiced against the defendant, because the jurors might feel sorry for the extent of the injury to the victim,” Lee explained. “And the condition of the victim that that the defendants placed him in.”
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Samoa and Tautalatasi were convicted on attempted second degree murder charges and were serving terms of life with the possibility of parole.
Lauvao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for first-degree assault.
Kanui’s daughter, Jennifer Farrell still remembers the agony testifying at the trial of three people who beat her father in 2018, which was two years before he died as a quadriplegic.
“It was tough to sit there in court and not only face them physically, but to face their defense attorneys and to hear the things that they have to say, to try to discredit my dad and his actions,” said Farrell. “My heart literally hurts having to even think that we’re going to have to go to trial all over again.”
Kanui’s daughter says jury needed to see the video of her dad in hospital to see the damage they caused to the 63-year-old and his family.
Farrell said she’s shocked and upset that her family will have to endure another trial, but she plans to show up no matter what because she wants to be a voice for her dad.
“I haven’t forgiven them for what they have done and I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” said Farrell. “But I’m praying really hard that justice will be served again.”
No date has been set for the new trial.
Hawaii News Now reached out to the prosecutors and have yet to hear back.
One of the defense attorneys declined to comment at this time.
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