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Stabbing suspect to accept plea deal

The man accused of stabbing a friend at Kapa‘a’s Fujii beach in May waived his preliminary hearing in District Court yesterday, taking the first step toward an already-agreed upon plea deal with prosecutors.

Joshua Sesco, 29, of Kapa‘a, was arrested on May 16 and formally charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. His preliminary hearing, originally scheduled for May 21, was postponed five different times as defense and prosecuting attorneys investigated the details of the event and hammered out a deal.

In a June interview with The Garden Island, Curtis Bupp said he and Sesco had previously been friends and that the stabbing, which occurred at a beach celebration of Bupp’s son’s 21st birthday, was unexpected.

“He already had the knife when he got out of the car. I saw nothing and was expecting nothing,” Bupp said. “The next thing I know, he stabbed me.”

Bupp described the weapon as a “butcher knife” and displayed his hands seemingly at shoulder-width apart to approximate its length.

“The knife originally hit me in the belly, and if it had gone in right there, I’d be dead,” Bupp said. “The knife started to cut and go in, but it hit my hip bone. It jumped over my hip bone and the whole blade went in, almost to my back. It came within one inch of coming out the other side of me.”

Due to the size, shape and location of the wound, doctors had difficulty stopping the bleeding and, Bupp said, administered five units of blood upon his admission to the emergency room. He spent seven days in the hospital.

According to both deputy prosecuting attorney Mauna Kea Trask and defense attorney Daniel Hempey, Sesco will plead no contest to the first-degree assault charge at his 5th Circuit Court arraignment on Sept. 2.

In return, the state will dismiss the second-degree attempted murder charge.

After the arraignment, the court will schedule a sentencing hearing at which both sides can outline the details of the case in an attempt to impact the length of the prison term, which will be determined by 5th Circuit Chief Judge Randal Valenciano.

First-degree assault is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Hempey said Sesco, who has no serious prior convictions, could end up with three to four years behind bars.

Bupp said in June that he was hoping that “real justice” is served but that he is “not looking for life without parole” for Sesco.

“He should get at least 10 years (in prison) I think. That would be long enough to help him change his mind,” he said.

A phone message left for Bupp yesterday was not returned as of press time.

Sesco remains in police custody with bail set at $500,000.

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