Shylo Akuna is accused of beating up monk seal

LIHUE — A man accused of beating up a monk seal last year is expected to change his plea today.

Shylo Akuna appeared before Judge Kathleen Watanabe Tuesday on charges of illegally taking a monk seal, disorderly conduct and unreasonable intoxication after police say he confronted a Hawaiian monk seal, RK30, at Salt Pond Beach Park last April.

Akuna was set to go to trial, but his attorney, Mark Zenger, asked that the matter be continued.

“We have a change of plea agreement we’re working on, and there’s some fine-tuning that still needs to be done,” he said.

He is expected to plea no contest to the charges, said Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney.

On April 26, Akuna, 19, attacked RK30, who was pregnant at the time, according to witnesses and a video that went viral on Facebook shortly after the event.

The witness told officers she noticed Akuna “throwing sand and screaming at the seal,” according to court records.

The seal started “barking” and “trying to bite the guy,” while Akuna tried to punch the seal, swinging his fists, records showed.

He then chased the seal into the water, police say.

Akuna, who lives in Eleele, was arrested two days later. He pleaded not guilty to the charges May 25.

Illegaly taking a monk seal is a class C felony punishable by one to five years in prison.


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