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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 9, 2006

Depictions of trio differ

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

From left, Lugavai Momoe, Dillon Lepolo and Julius Mitchell appear in District Court on second-degree murder charges. There is a possibility prosecutors could present the case to an O'ahu grand jury before a preliminary hearing next week in hopes of securing indictments against the three.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Roger Haudenshild

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Rose Momoe, sister of Lugavai Momoe and fiance of Julius Mitchell, carries newborn Julius Mitchell Jr. out of a District Court courtroom where her brother, Mitchell and Dillon Lepolo appeared on second-degree murder charges.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Relatives called them hard-working family men, all with stable jobs and young children to support.

Prosecutors said they viciously beat an unarmed man to death, repeatedly stomping on his head, punching and kicking him even after he became unconscious.

After a court hearing yesterday for three men accused of beating a Wai'anae bicyclist to death Sept. 1, attended by about 20 of their family members, one relative said another version of the story about what happened has yet to emerge.

"No way are three of my brothers going to go there to barrage one guy," said Moe Momoe, the brother of Lugavai L. Momoe, 32, one of three men charged with second-degree murder in the death of Roger Haudenshild, 46.

Haudenshild was beaten in the parking lot of Wai'anae Market shortly after a traffic incident near the Wai'anae McDonald's.

Also charged are Dillion K. Lepolo, 22, and Julius F. Mitchell, 35. District Judge Gerald Kibe confirmed bail at $100,000 each.

All three men wore blue jeans, light-colored T-shirts and leg shackles during the brief hearing yesterday. Mitchell is a convicted felon, while Lepolo and Momoe were convicted earlier this year for disorderly conduct.

The beating incident began when Haudenshild, who was riding a bicycle, got into a fight with Lepolo on Farrington Highway near Old Government Road, according to a police statement filed in District Court. It says a witness broke up the fight and that as Lepolo was leaving, he told Haudenshild he was going to pick up his friends and "come back and kill" Haudenshild.

"This was just a tragic accident. These three guys don't wish death on anybody," Moe Momoe said.

Kibe scheduled a preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in District Court to determine if there is sufficient evidence to turn the case over to Circuit Court for trial.

There is a possibility prosecutors could present the case to an O'ahu grand jury before the preliminary hearing in hopes of securing indictments against the three. If indictments are handed down, the preliminary hearing would be canceled.

Mitchell was sentenced in 1998 to 80 months in federal prison for aiding and abetting in the distribution of more than 10 grams of methamphetamine, according to federal court documents. The sentence was later reduced to supervised release.

Mitchell has four other felony convictions, including three for auto theft and one for a weapons violation in 1999, according to records obtained from the Hawai'i Criminal Justice Data Center. Mitchell was sentenced to three concurrent five-year jail terms for the auto theft convictions and 10 years for the gun conviction, records show.

Mitchell also has misdemeanor convictions for reckless driving, driving without a license and contempt of court, according to court records.

Momoe and Lepolo were convicted on March 10 for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and were fined $100 each.

A conviction for second-degree murder carries a mandatory prison term of life with the possibility of parole.

"All of these guys are very sorry for what happened it wasn't supposed to go that way," Moe Momoe said. "We're wondering why all of the other guys (who were near the store when the fight broke out) haven't come forward.

"We all feel sorry for the family of the guy who was killed, and we hope the full story of what happened will come out."

According to a police statement filed in District Court, witnesses said the three men repeatedly stomped on Haudenshild's head and punched and kicked him until he became unconscious. He was pronounced dead at the Wai'anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Reach David Waite at dwaite@honoluluadvertiser.com.