KAILUA-KONA, Hawai‘i Island — A Kona man was found guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree arson in connection with the May 2021 shooting death of Joey Richmond, 46, of Kailua-Kona, at the end of Keauhou-Kainaliu Beach Road, known locally as “End of the World” in Keauhou.
Ioane Asagra was extradited in June 2021 from Honolulu, where he had been recovering from burns allegedly suffered when he set the victim’s car on fire.
He was taken into the custody of the Hawai‘i Police Department upon his arrival at Kona International Airport at Keahole, and then transported to the Kona Police Station where he was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder. He remained in custody at Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center on a no bail order.
Asagra was indicted by a Hilo Grand Jury on one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree arson. A jury trial commenced on June 6 in Kona Circuit Judge Robert D.S. Kim’s courtroom. The jury returned with a guilty verdict on both counts on June 20.
Shortly before 9:30 p.m. May 25, 2021, police responded to a report of an unresponsive man lying face-down on the ground at Keauhou-Kainaliu Beach Road. Police told West Hawai‘i Today at the time that a family fishing at the site had come upon the scene and reported it to authorities.
Witnesses reportedly saw a silver- or gray-colored BMW leaving the area at a high rate of speed and head south on the Mamalahoa Bypass at the time of the reported shooting.
Later, police responded to a report of a vehicle on fire off Highway 160. There, they found a silver BMW on fire.
An autopsy determined Richmond died of multiple gunshot wounds, police said. The manner of death was listed as homicide.
At the time of the shooting, Asagra was free on $500,000 bail in connection with a December 2020 home invasion. In August 2020, he pleaded no contest to six charges in that case and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Second-degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison with the possibility of parole. First-degree arson is a Class A felony and carries up to 20 years behind bars without the possibility of suspension of sentence or probation.
Prosecutors were seeking extended terms of imprisonment per the indictment because Asagra allegedly used a firearm in the commission of the felony. Court records also indicate he is subject to extended terms of imprisonment necessary “for the protection of the public.”
However the jury on Tuesday came back with a “no” answer to a special interrogatory of whether he was in possession of a firearm. The prosecution argued Asagra was still subject to extended terms of imprisonment because he was a danger to the public.
Kim ruled a new jury would be convened for the state to provide facts that would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Asagra was eligible for the extended sentence, however, the ultimate decision will remain in the judge’s hands.
Sentencing will not be set until the hearing on extended terms is complete.
Laura Ruminski can be reached at email@example.com
Source: The Garden Island