Hawai'i County prosecutors seek to try boy as adult
By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau
HILO, Hawai'i Prosecutors have filed a petition in 3rd Circuit Court to bring a 16-year-old O'ahu boy to trial as an adult over last month's slaying of a university student from Japan.
The suspect, who has not been identified because he is a juvenile, is accused of the fatal beating of Tetsuya Takahashi, 20, in Puna. Neither police nor prosecutors have disclosed the motive for the killing of the University of Hawai'i-Hilo student from Tokyo.
Big Island Judge Ben Gaddis has received a petition to waive Family Court jurisdiction in the case. The judge ordered a waiver study to be conducted over the next several weeks, with a hearing on the results scheduled for May 14. The study will look into the youth's criminal record and the findings of his psychological examination.
First Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi yesterday said the case is atypical because Hawai'i County prosecutors seldom seek a Family Court waiver except in exceptional cases such as murder. She declined to go into any of the details of why her staff is seeking the waiver, which could put the suspect in prison for life if he is convicted.
The suspect is described as an O'ahu resident wanted on a warrant for nearly a year before the murder. Hawai'i County police have said they were never informed of the warrant and so the teen was never sought as a fugitive.
The youth was arrested the day after Takahashi's body was found Feb. 18 by an underpass near Kea'au. Police have said an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers Hawai'i helped them identity the suspect.
On the day his body was found, Takahashi was to have flown to Honolulu to attend a training course in repairing scuba equipment as part of his goal of obtaining a dive master's certificate. He was employed by a Hilo dive firm at the time of his death.