LIHUE — No charges will be filed against Christopher Cruz for the death of Victoria Kanahele’s baby, who died 30 minutes after an emergency cesarean section, according to the county prosecutor.
Kanahele was 28 weeks pregnant when she was stabbed earlier this month, allegedly by Cruz. Doctors at Wilcox Memorial Hospital rushed to perform an emergency C-section, but the baby did not survive.
“Under current Hawaii law, a person can only be charged with murder or manslaughter if the victim is a person who has been born and is alive at the time the conduct occurs,” said Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. “The Hawaii Supreme Court directly addressed this issue in the 2005 case of State v. Aiwohi.”
Kollar said he’s not able to prosecute in the Cruz-Kanahele case, but he’s looking for a way to fix this.
“It’s time for the Legislature to close this loophole and we will be asking them to do so in the upcoming session,” he said. “In the past, law enforcement efforts to create enhanced penalties for crimes committed against pregnant women have failed due to trepidation that the law could be used against abortion providers. We are hopeful that a law can be crafted that will relieve those concerns while allowing prosecutors to seek the appropriate punishment against violent offenders.”
Cruz was indicted last week on a charge for attempted murder in the second degree for stabbing Kanahele behind the Eleele Big Save. On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to charges. His trial is set for April.
He is being held on bail for $250,000.
Kanahele is the second pregnant woman who was stabbed in recent months on Kauai. The other case involved Jasmine Duque, who was stabbed during a fight between Gary Allianic and Francisco Keola Manuel in September.