'I did something bad': Man admitted to fatally choking Wahiawa teen, police say

Suspect arrested after teen found dead at Wahiawa park
Published: May. 18, 2018 at 9:40 PM HST|Updated: May. 21, 2018 at 4:15 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 21-year-old man accused of killing a Wahiawa teen told police that he fatally choked the victim, telling them "I did something bad" and subsequently leading officers to her body, court documents said.

Kaniala Avilla-Rapoza pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the case.

His attorney, Myles Breiner, said Avilla-Rapoza and the victim, 19-year-old Nelibeth Albert, had known each other for years.

He also said both had been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and he expressed concern that Avilla-Rapoza was being held at the HPD cellblock and not at the Hawaii State Hospital, a forensic psychiatric facility.

"They were very close to each other," he said. "The family (of the suspect) believes this is an enormous mistake."

Avilla-Rapoza was arrested Friday, three days after Albert was reported missing.

According to court documents released Monday, he told police he'd been in a relationship with Albert for at least two months, but that they'd previously been classmates at Leilehua High School.

Court documents also said the suspect appeared to have gotten jealous after another boy expressed interest in Albert.

The documents outline in chilling detail what Avilla-Rapoza said happened at Wahiawa Freshwater State Park on May 15.

He told police that the two met there, and that the suspect got angry.

That's when Avilla-Rapoza allegedly choked the victim, the court documents said. As his hands were around her neck, police said, Albert told the suspect, "You won't get to see me if you do this."

The suspect replied that he was sorry, police said.

Several days later, Avilla-Rapoza led police to the victim's body, hidden under several branches that he said he'd placed there, the court documents said.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.