Plea deal may end manslaughter case

  • Contributed photo

    Cody Safadago

LIHUE — A plea bargain has been offered to the defendant in a fatal hit-and-run accident, but as of presstime Friday it had not been accepted.

Appearing with his attorney Melinda Mendes before state Circuit Chief Judge Randal Valenciano, Cody Safadago listened as Valenciano explained to him what was happening with his case.

Friday’s hearing, Velenciano said, was originally to be about arguments and decision-making in regards to several motions that were before the court.

Safadago was facing a jury trial Monday in an unrelated theft charge, and Friday Valenciano told Safadago that his lawyer wanted to discuss the plea bargain with him because it could resolve both cases.

“So what she wants to do before the court makes decisions on the motions to discuss the plea bargain with you, to make sure you make an informed decision to accept and or reject the plea bargain offer, whichever course of action you decide to take,” Valenciano said.

The court, Valenciano said, granted the request, continuing the motions hearing to Friday.

“In the meantime, you still have your trial with Mr. Murphy that they have to resolve with either plea bargaining or actually taking that case to trial,” Valenciano said.

In a statement to TGI, Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said, “There is currently no plea agreement. We are preparing for trial Monday in the theft case against Safadago (unrelated to the DUI manslaughter case),” Kollar said. “There is the possibility that the cases will settle before Monday, but as of now, we are preparing for trial.”

In late April, a 19-year-old Kapaa woman died after sustaining injuries in a head-on crash that occurred on Kuhio Highway fronting the Courtyards at Waipouli apartment complex.

Police say Kayla Huddy-Lemn was heading north at approximately 10:45 p.m. when an oncoming Nisan pickup truck crossed the center line, striking her Mazda sedan. After the impact, the truck continued south approximately 500 feet, until it came to a stop near Kintaro Japanese Restaurant.

Huddy-Lemn was transported to Wilcox Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased.

Police say Safadago was driving the pickup truck, which he allegedly stole moments before the crash, then fled the scene on foot. He was later located near the Wailua Shopping Plaza and apprehended following a brief struggle, and taken to Wilcox Medical Center for medical evaluation.

He was later transported to Kauai Police Department headquarters and arrested on multiple charges.

On May 15, according to eCourt Kokua, the state’s online court database, Safadago pled not guilty to manslaughter, recklessly causing death, negligent homicide 1, being involved in an accident involving death or serious injury, unauthorized control of propelled vehicle, resisting arrest, DUI, reckless driving, inattention to driving and driving without a valid drivers license.

Safadago’s jury trial, according to eCourt Kokua, is currently scheduled for May 21.

  1. manongindashadow February 3, 2018 8:20 am Reply

    People are dying at a very young age. All because of reckless and murderous instinct people.
    What do our eCourt Kokua offer them? Looks like another plea bargaining for such people(reckless and murderous). Oh yeah that’s about right, ” we have to kokua!” Never mind the dead and the surviving family.

  2. Uncleaina February 3, 2018 9:04 am Reply

    Well of course they’ll use a plea bargain. Kauai is nirvana for violent criminals – you flagrantly murder someone and only get charged with assault because of the plea bargain. In other words here you get the same charge for killing someone that you’d get for throwing a punch in a place like Dallas or Boston. Galas, Low, Hilario- I could go on- so many violent criminals getting 1/2 to 1/10 the punishment they’d receive on the mainland. Now this guy who had been hiding in Kalalau to escape the US Marshal. Idea: DONT give him a plea. Go to trial on the hardest charges and don’t accept a plea bargain. This guy has no ties to Kauai. Can we get a little bit of actual justice around here?

  3. Steven McMacken February 3, 2018 9:13 am Reply

    NO PLEA DEAL!!!!!

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