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Anahola man awaiting trial in game room bust faces new assault charge

LIHU‘E — The Anahola man awaiting trial in connection with last year’s game room raid is facing a new assault charge.

Moleni Koli, 38, was arraigned at Lihu‘e courthouse on Tuesday on one count of assault in the second degree for a Nov. 7 beating that prosecutors say left the victim with broken bones.

Koli was previously arrested in August 2021 when the Kaua‘i Police Department partnered with U.S. Marshals to raid a game room in Kawaihau — resulting in the seizure of a dozen gaming machines, a handgun, and a small amount of methamphetamine.

After the game room arrest, he pleaded not guilty to several weapons charges and a minor drug charge. In October 2021, he posted a $100,000 bail bond.

He was arrested on the new assault charge last week along with 46-year-old Hanama‘ulu man Albert Bactad — who prosecutors say was involved in the same attack.

Kapaia man Paulo Vito, 48, was also arrested around the same time as Koli and Bactad on an assault charge, but he is yet to appear in court, and it remains unclear if he was involved in the same beating.

Bactad was arrested
earlier this year in a separate incident in which police alleged that he, Vito, and another man broke into a Lihu‘e home and assaulted three people living at the residence.

No charges were ultimately filed in court over the break-in assault.

The second-degree assault charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Koli’s bail was set once again at $100,000.

A preliminary hearing in his new assault case is set for Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Source: The Garden Island

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