LIHUE — A case involving a Waimea man accused of beating a trespassing teenager with a shovel may hinge on statements he allegedly made to police prior to being advised of his right to remain silent.
David Leialoha, 57, is charged with second-degree assault in connection with an incident on the night of December 3, when officers with the Kauai Police Department took a statement from a 16-year-old boy being treated for lacerations to his head and face at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.
According to court documents in the case filed by Kauai County prosecutors earlier this year, the young man told police he had been at a church group function in Waimea earlier that night, “playing a game, kind of like cops and robbers,” along with other middle-school and high-school students.
The boy said he and a group of children were dropped off near the Russian Fort area and had to make their way back to Waimea High School without getting caught by the other students but ended up on Leialoha’s property, after getting lost and separated from his friends.
Prosecutors say Leialoha approached the kid and asked him what he was doing, to which the boy responded that he was lost and asked for directions back to the pier. Then, Leialoha grabbed the young man by the neck, dragged him over to a window of his house and asked anyone inside if they knew him, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kimberly Torigoe wrote in a July 1 memorandum.
According to the memo, when the occupants of the home didn’t recognize the boy, Leialoha hit him on the head with the metal part of a shovel and continued to strike him 6-7 times after he fell to the ground, until another person came outside and intervened, eventually pointing the young man toward the direction of the pier.
The account Leialoha gave to police prior to being read his Miranda rights is notably different.
Leialoha told the KPD officer who interviewed him at his home on the night of the incident that he caught the young man trying to sneak into the house through a screen window, according to a summary of the police report included in another court document filed by prosecutors.
“Somebody came into my yard, a young white haole boy,” Leialoha allegedly told police. “Came to my window. My wife was sleeping in the back and I had just turned the light on. He told me he came down my road. He never came down my road because my dog was barking in the back.”
The police report said Leialoha told the officer his dog caught the kid near his window, “standing stiff” and asked him, “what you doing in my yard?”
“The boy said he was looking for the road. I was like yeah right this guys trying to get into my back screen,” Leialoha allegedly told the officer, pointing out where he believed the young man had tried to break into his window. “So when I came out I grab my dogs and my shovel and the kid was right here near the tree.”
“And the kid said I’m lost I’m looking for the road,” Leialoha continued, according to the police report, adding that the young man came to “pillage my house.” He was just beginning tell how he grabbed the boy by the neck, when the officer stopped him from speaking and read him his constitutional rights.
“While in handcuffs,” Torigoe wrote in an April 26 motion, asking the judge to rule that Leialoha’s statements to police be made admissible in court, “the defendant stated to his wife, ‘Honey, they arresting me for assault for the dummy that came in the back. I told them off the record what happened. I should of dragged him in the house, and called the cops, like I usually do.’”
A Fifth Circuit judge was set to rule Tuesday on whether to allow Leialoha’s statements to be used against him in court, but the hearing was continued until next month at the request of his newly-assigned public defender.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.