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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ex-wrestler fatally stabbed; friend held

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A longtime friend of former professional sumo wrestler Percy Kipapa was arrested yesterday after Kipapa was stabbed to death Monday night in Kahalu'u.

Kipapa, 31, was found slumped over the steering wheel of a 1991 GMC pickup truck about 9 p.m. on Okana Road. Residents there heard the truck's engine running and went out to find the truck in the middle of the road and Kipapa with several stab wounds, said police homicide Lt. Bill Kato.

Kipapa, a 1991 Castle High School graduate, was pronounced dead at the scene. The city medical examiner yesterday said Kipapa died of multiple stab wounds to the back with injury to his lungs.

A 30-year-old man who was with Kipapa Monday night was arrested yesterday morning on suspicion of second-degree murder. Kealiiokalani Meheula, a high school classmate of Kipapa, was being held last night pending charges.

Kipapa moved to Japan in 1991 to begin his sumo career. He wrestled under the name Daiki and reached sumo's second-highest juryo division.

Kipapa left the sumo world after battling injuries and other health problems.

Kato said that on Monday evening, Kipapa and Meheula were seen together when they stopped at the Kahalu'u 7-Eleven store to buy candy. A short while later, Kipapa's body was found in the truck.

Kato said neighbors said they did not hear an argument or confrontation before finding Kipapa.

"The patrol officers who work there say that the neighbors up there do keep a very watchful eye on what's going on, because it's dark and kind of isolated. So if there are problems, they normally call right away," Kato said.

About half an hour after police were called to Okana Road, a man, identified as Meheula, walked into the Castle Medical Center emergency room with a stab wound to his right thigh. Police said someone drove him to the Kahalu'u fire station, and he was taken from there to Castle.

Meheula was treated for his wound and arrested about 9 a.m. yesterday, Kato said. He said the motive for the stabbing and who stabbed Meheula were under investigation.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8025.