Guilty verdicts in beating of Hawaii hotel security guard
KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii (AP) — A man and woman face life in prison after being convicted of attempted murder in the beating of a Hawaii hotel security guard.
The jury returned guilty verdicts Tuesday against Wesley Samoa and Natisha Tautalatasi, West Hawaii Today reported . A third person, Lama Lauvao, was convicted of first-degree assault and faces up to 10 years in prison.
Jurors watched repeatedly the 25-minute video surveillance footage of the defendants beating Kona Seaside Hotel security guard until he lay motionless on the ground. After a minute break, Tautalatasi resumed punching and kicking him. She wept as the verdict was read.
“The defendants acted to kill, a coordinated effort to violently and viciously attack him while he was going his job,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sheri Lawson said in her closing argument.
Defense attorneys had portrayed the guard, John Kanui, as the aggressor in the September incident.
“Mr. Kanui should not have disrespected Miss Tautalatasi,” her attorney, William Reece, said in his closing arguments. “He invited the melee. He escalated it. ”
Samoa’s attorney, Barry Sooalo, said his client’s actions were justified.
Lauvao didn’t intend to kill Kanui, his defense attorney, Andrew Kennedy said.
The verdict “doesn’t change the injuries and paralysis my uncle suffered from this senseless act of hate, it does give us all a sense of relief that I hope we can all begin to heal,” Kanui’s niece, Candi Runn, said.
Kanui remains a quadriplegic in a long-term care facility on the mainland.
Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com