‘Peter Boy’ bill would do away with statute of limitations for manslaughter

Updated: Jan. 24, 2018 at 3:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A bill moving through the state Legislature seek to close what lawmakers call a loophole in Hawaii's criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 2322, referred to as the "Peter Boy Kema Act," would do away with the 10-year statute of limitations in manslaughter cases, excluding vehicular manslaughter.

The measure was named in honor of Peter Boy Kema Jr., the 6-year-old who died at the hands of his abusive parents in 1997 but whose killing would remain unconfirmed for 20 years.

Under a plea deal, Jaylin and Peter Kema Sr. both pleaded guilty to manslaughter in order to avoid a court trial.

Supporters of the bill say if the Kemas stood trial in the murder case and jurors found them guilty of manslaughter, they would have walked away because the statute of limitations had expired.

On Monday, the bill passed its first reading.

The bill was introduced by Big Island Sens. Kai Kahele and Lorraine Inouye last week.

This story may be updated.

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