KAILUA-KONA — On the 16th day of testimony, the jury trial for three people accused of aiding alleged cop killer Justin Waiki revealed communications between the accomplices.
As of Friday afternoon, 45 witnesses, including sworn officers and civilian staff of the Hawaii Police Department, an FBI agent and members of the public, have been called by prosecutors to provide testimony since the proceedings got underway on Sept. 26.
Krystle Ferreira, Malia Lajala and Jorge Pagan-Torres are each charged with two counts of first-degree hindering prosecution and first-degree attempted murder.
The three, along with a fourth person, Jamie Jason, were in a vehicle with Waiki when police tracked the man down three days after he shot and killed Officer Bronson Kaliloa on the side of Highway 11 in Puna. Waiki was killed in an exchange of bullets on South Point Road during which another officer suffered nonfatal gunshot wounds.
Prosecutors say they were among a network of loyal friends of Waiki who intentionally helped the man on the lam. Attorneys for the two women and man on trial for their alleged roles assisting the 33-year-old fugitive say otherwise.
Attorneys for Ferreira and Pagan-Torres argue their clients were not previously connected to Waiki and were scared for their lives while counsel for Lajala stated she was working to get the wanted man to turn himself in to police.
On Friday, Detective Donovan Kohara detailed communications extracted from Jason’s cellphone, providing a timeline of the events. Prosecutor Sheri Lawson questioned Kohara about communication between Jason and Lajala which revealed texts that began around midnight July 20, 2018.
Text messages from Lajala to Jason included “I’m coming in my friend’s 4-Runner; I’m in Honolii; Where you guys stay; Call me please, I’m driving all over; I going back to Hilo get gas you guys got to call me; I stay in my friend’s 4Runner at Bayfront now where are you.” He also noted multiple phone calls between the two women spanning from shortly before midnight to 6 a.m. Jason also received a message from Lajala warning her about a roadblock in Honokaa “with SWAT and everything.”
Prosecution then showed photos extracted from Jason’s phone taken in the 4-Runner just a few hours before Waiki was shot and killed.
The first photo shows Jason and Pagan-Torres flipping off in a selfie. The second selfie has Jason and Lajala smiling for the camera and the third has Waiki, Lajala and Jason smiling in the back seat.
Lajala’s attorney, James Bivens on cross examination questioned Kohara regarding Jason and Waiki obtaining a gun from Mokihana Viencent around midnight on July 20, 2018. He also questioned the detective about his knowledge of Waiki’s ex-wife Porsha Deguair giving him her daughter’s cellphone when Waiki came to her house in the early hours of July 19. Police were able to ping that phone to learn of Waiki’s location.
Jason is being tried separately as her case is tied-up in appeal over statements made while she was hospitalized. She faces two counts of first-degree hindering prosecution, first-degree attempted murder and place to keep pistol or revolver, and two firearms offenses, ownership or possession prohibited fugitive.
Three others were also charged in connection with the case; Kiel Brende and Veincent have since pleaded out and been sentenced while the third, Taumi Carr, awaits trial.
Trial continues Tuesday in Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim’s courtroom.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald