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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 10:28 a.m., Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Big Island kumu hula's trial in fatal hit-and-run delayed

By John Burnett
Hawaii Tribune-Herald

HILO A respected kumu hula and Hawaiian language educator has been granted a delay in the start of her hit-and-run trial.

Judge Glenn Hara reset the trial date for Huihui Lavon Kanahele-Mossman for July 6 at 8:30 a.m. in Hilo Circuit Court. The trial had been scheduled for March.

Kanahele-Mossman is charged with leaving the scene of an accident that caused the death of Dale Kanani Tim Sing on Aug. 4, 2005, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, plus an alternate count of hindering prosecution in the first degree, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The body of Tim Sing, who was 22, was found Aug. 5, 2005, on East Kahaopea Street in Panaewa.

Kanahele-Mossman can be convicted on only one of the two charges. Her husband, county firefighter Konrad Kala Mossman, is also charged with leaving the scene of the same fatal mishap. His trial is separate from hers and is scheduled to start Feb. 17 before Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura.

Both husband and wife are free on their own recognizance.

Kanahele-Mossman, 40, appeared in court yesterday with attorney Francis Alcain, an associate of Brian De Lima, her counsel of record.

Dressed in a brown leatherette jacket, brown blouse and one-inch heels with dark gray slacks, her smooth black hair pulled back and secured with a brown barrette, Kanahele-Mossman appeared stoic during questioning by Hara, answering queries with a simple "yes, your Honor" or "no, your Honor." With the exception of defense counsel, Kanahele-Mossman was alone in the nearly empty courtroom.

Tim Sing's parents, Dale Cordero and Marlene Tim Sing, and Tim Sing's fiancee, Kassy Astrande, have also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Mossmans, the county and the Edith Kanaka'ole Foundation.

Astrande is the mother of Tim Sing's daughter, McKenzie. Their civil suit alleges that Konrad Mossman called police the morning of Aug. 5 and told them his wife was driving the couple's Ford F-250 pickup truck and had "struck something" the night before.

Police said the truck's exterior was heavily damaged.

The suit alleges Konrad Mossman was actually driving but told police his wife was driving for fear of losing his Fire Department job. According to the document, Mossman waited until the following morning to report the accident to avoid a blood alcohol test because he had been drinking the evening of Aug. 4 with fellow firefighters.

The civil action also specifies that someone with emergency responder skills apparently attempted to resuscitate Tim Sing.

It accuses police of negligence for failing to immediately impound Mossman's vehicle, leaving pieces of the truck at the scene, and not properly securing the accident site.

Kanahele-Mossman is the granddaughter of the late Edith Kanaka'ole, an icon of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance who helped to start the Hawaiian language and studies program at the University of Hawaii-Hilo in the 1970s.

With her mother, Pualani Kanahele, and aunt, Nalani Kanaka'ole, Kanahele-Mossman one of three kumu of Halau O Kekuhi, the hula school founded by Edith Kanaka'ole, which operates under the auspices of the foundation that bears Kanaka'ole's name. She is also part of the curriculum development team for the foundation's educational programs.