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Bail maintained for manslaughter suspect

A 28-year-old man made his initial court appearance Friday on a charge of manslaughter stemming from an assault on Dec. 3 that left a 64-year-old Captain Cook man dead.

Daniel Watai-Simeona of Kailua-Kona is accused of assaulting 64-year-old Menry Mendoza of Captain Cook, who succumbed to his injuries Sunday evening.

According to police, Kona patrol officers responded to a call of a traffic accident involving a pedestrian at 10:25 p.m. Dec. 3, but later determined that the incident was an assault. The victim stopped his vehicle on Henry Street to address an incident involving an animal. While outside of his vehicle, he was assaulted by an unknown male passer-by who then left the area.

Because of the severity of his injuries, the victim was flown to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu. He died from his injuries Sunday evening.

Police arrested Watai-Simeona on Thursday and set bail at $250,000.

Deputy Public Defender Lezlie Kiaha argued for supervised release or a reduction in bail. She told the court that the Public Defender’s office had represented Watai-Simeona on several occasions and he was not a violent man.

District Court Judge Kimberly Taniyama maintained the bail amount, stating a reckless disregard for human life, the seriousness of the charge and his history of failing to appear in court.

A preliminary hearing is set for Monday.

Anyone who may have information on this incident should contact Detective Tyler Prokopec at (808) 326-4646, ext. 224, via email at tyler.prokopec@hawaiicounty.gov or contact the police department’s nonemergency number at (808) 935-3311.

Those who wish to remain anonymous can make a tip through Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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