Trial begins for 3 suspected accomplices in officer shooting

KAILUA-KONA — A Hawaii trial has started for three suspected accomplices prosecutors say helped a man evade authorities after fatally shooting a police officer.

Defendants Krystle Ferreira, Jorge Pagan-Torres and Malia Lajala face multiple charges including hindering prosecution and attempted murder, West Hawaii Today reported Friday.

Justin Waiki, 33, fatally shot officer Bronson Kaliloa during a traffic stop on the side of U.S. Highway 11 in Puna in July 2018, authorities said. Waiki was tracked down three days later by the Hawaii Police Department and was killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers.

When police located Waiki, four people were also in the car including the three defendants, authorities said.

“Each of these defendants that sit here today are charged with hindering the apprehension, the prosecution, the conviction, the punishment of Justin Waiki for murdering Officer Kaliloa on July 17, 2018, because they intentionally rendered aid to him, by hiding him, by transporting him, by warning him,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kauanoe Jackson said.

Ferreira and Pagan-Torres unknowingly got involved when they went with Lajala to pick up another friend and fourth person Jamie Jason at a Hilo Taco Bell, defense attorneys said.

The lack of evidence would show Lajala did not have anything to do with Waiki possessing a revolver and she did not plan or aid him, but rather tried to get him to turn himself in, said James Biven, attorney for Lajala.

The trial is expected to last five weeks, officials said.

Jason, the fourth woman in the car, is being tried separately as her case is tied-up in appeal over statements made while she was hospitalized, officials said.

Jason faces the same charges and additional firearms offenses.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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