Monk seal attacker pleads not guilty

LIHUE — An Eleele man accused of beating a monk seal at Salt Pond Beach in Hanapepe pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Shylo Akuna, 19, pleaded not guilty in front of Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on charges of taking a monk seal, a Class C felony; disorderly conduct, a petty misdemeanor; and unreasonable intoxication.

If convicted of the Class C felony, Akuna may face one to five years in person and may pay a fine up to $50,000. The charges stem from an April 26 incident in which Akuna allegedly attacked and confronted a pregnant Hawaiian monk seal named RK30.

The incident was captured on video and posted on Facebook and went viral. Akuna was arrested on April 28.

A pretrial for Akuna is scheduled for Aug. 24. A jury trial is scheduled Sept. 19.

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