Lanai man faces sec­ond-de­gree mur­der charge in beat­ing death

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE -

Po­lice in­creased a charge from man­slaugh­ter to sec­ond­de­gree mur­der for a Lanai City man ac­cused of re­peat­edly punch­ing a 46-year-old man in the face be­fore he died of his in­juries, As­sis­tant Chief John Jakubczak said Wed­nes­day.

Travis Morita, 35, was charged with mur­der Mon­day fol­low­ing an au­topsy of the vic­tim, SioneTelua Koloi, of Lanai

City. Morita was be­ing held at the Wailuku Po­lice Sta­tion.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at 10:37 p.m. Fri­day when po­lice re­sponded to a re­port of a man in­jured dur­ing a fight at the in­ter­sec­tion of Fraser Av­enue and Kau­mala­pau High­way in Lanai City, Jakubczak said. Po­lice found Koloi ly­ing on the ground on his right side with in­juries to his head and face, with his ex-girl­friend by his side.

Wit­nesses told po­lice the two men ar­gued at the rear of Morita’s res­i­dence. The ar­gu­ment ended when Koloi left the area, Jakubczak said. But Koloi later re­turned to Morita’s res­i­dence where an­other ar­gu­ment es­ca­lated into a fight.

Ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses, Morita gained the up­per hand when he knocked Koloi to the ground, mounted him and be­gan punch­ing him in the face mul­ti­ple times, Jakubczak said. By­s­tanders stopped Morita by pulling him off of Koloi.

Koloi was taken to Lanai Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, Jakubczak said. He was pro­nounced dead at 11:39 p.m. as a re­sult of his in­juries.

Travis Morita

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