A 40-year-old man has pleaded guilty to 27 charges stemming from the Dec. 22, 2015, knifepoint rape of two teens in Hilo.
Oran Charles Kita entered the pleas July 19 to 15 counts each of first-degree sexual assault, seven counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts each of kidnapping and first-degree terroristic threatening and a single count of simple marijuana possession.
Kita, whose trial on the charges was to have begun Monday, is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 27 before Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura. Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said Kita will be sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with credit for time served. He’s been in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center since his arrest Dec. 23, 2015.
According to court hearing minutes, Kita’s trial date had been postponed at seven times at the request of defense attorney Stanton Oshiro and once by agreement between Oshiro and Deputy Prosecutor Evans Smith.
In return for Kita’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to not seek extended terms of imprisonment, which could have subjected Kita to a life sentence with the possibility of parole because of the 15 Class A felony charges. Prosecutors also agreed to not seek consecutive sentencing on the charges, which add up to a potential sentence of 365 years and 30 days in prison.
Roth said he’s proud of his team, including Smith, the victims, and “the courage the victims showed, moving forward.” He also cited “the hard work of the police.”
“This agreement came after conversations with the police, the victims and people on our team, so it was a well-thought-out agreement,” Roth said.
The victims, a then-19-year-old woman and her friend, a then-17-year-old girl, told police they were hiking near Piihonua Bridge above Hilo town when Kita, who was a stranger to both, approached them and said there was a waterfall in the area, according to court documents.
Both told police Kita led them to a remote area where he brandished a knife, told them to take off their clothes, tied their hands behind their backs and forced both to perform various sex acts with him.
Kita, who was wanted on unrelated felony marijuana growing charges since Feb. 9, 2011, was taken into custody the following afternoon near the Piihonua Bridge. According to documents, Kita originally told officers his name is “Joshua Kita” and the silver 1991 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck he was driving — which was registered to Oran Kita — belonged to his cousin.
When he’s sentenced, prosecutors will drop the marijuana case, in which the most serious charge includes first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, a Class A felony punishable by up to 20-years imprisonment.
According to police, officers who served a search warrant on Kita’s former home in Hawaiian Paradise Park confiscated 381 marijuana plants, 6.7 pounds of processed marijuana, 5.3 pounds of a “green leafy substance,” grow lights, a generator and “various other paraphernalia associated with marijuana cultivation” indoors.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald