Opening statements begin for 2009 shooting murder of Puna woman

Patricia Wong and a her alleged co-conspirator are accused of manipulating the scene to make the death look like a suicide.
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 5:30 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 8:49 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Hawaii Island, lawyers made their opening statements Monday in the murder trial of Patricia Wong, who’s charged in the 2009 shooting death of a 21-year-old woman in Puna.

The victim, Kaycee Smith, was found with a single gunshot wound to her head on June 30, 2009.

Wong, 60, was originally indicted in 2016 for second-degree murder. But on Dec. 28, 2022, prosecutors indicted her on additional charges and named a second person — 55-year-old Peter Fuerte — as an alleged co-conspirator and accomplice.

Police say Wong and Fuerte, manipulated the scene to make the death look like a suicide.

Patricia Wong (left) and Peter Fuerte (right)
Patricia Wong (left) and Peter Fuerte (right)(Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney)

“We’re here because a 21-year-old woman, Kaycee Smith, trusted Patricia Wong,” said Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Woodward.

“That trust cost Kaycee her life.”

Meanwhile, Wong’s attorney Aaron Wills claims there’s insufficient evidence in the case.

“In this case, the evidence will show that the circumstantial evidence the state has against Patricia Wong is just not sufficient,” said Wills.

Wong has been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder in the second degree and two counts of criminal solicitation.

Fuerte was charged with accomplice to murder in the second degree and accomplice to attempted murder in the second degree.

The trial continues on Tuesday.