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Minimum term set for child’s death

A woman sentenced to a quarter-century behind bars in connection with the 2018 death of a 6-year-old Kona boy will be eligible for parole after serving just over 13 years.

Ashley Rose Nihipali was sentenced Dec. 11, 2020, to serve consecutively 20 years for manslaughter and five years for three counts of abuse after pleading guilty to the offenses stemming from the Oct. 31, 2018, death of Mazen Kaniela Nihipali-Moniz at an apartment complex in the Kealakehe area. It was the maximum sentence the judge could render in the case.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority recently set the minimum number of years Nihipali must serve before becoming eligible for parole, according to Department of Public Safety Spokeswoman Toni Schwartz.

For the manslaughter charge, Nihipali must serve 10 years and one month. Consecutive to, or following, that, Nihipali must serve a minimum three years and one month for the felony abuse charges.

Her initial parole hearing is scheduled for July 2032. Nihipali is currently housed at the Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oahu.

A second woman charged in connection with the death also meted a plea deal with prosecutors that resulted in her serving no additional jail time.

Kuuipo Leinaala Nihipali was sentenced Feb. 22 to five years probation for three counts of felony abuse in the presence of a child under age 14 and one count first-degree hindering prosecution.

She was also ordered by Kim to serve one year in jail with credit for 361 days served and four days suspended, and to perform 200 hours of community service, among other conditions.

In exchange for the pleas of both women, the state dismissed the remaining eight charges each faced, which included the offenses of second-degree murder, terroristic threatening and tampering with evidence.

The charges stemmed from the Halloween 2018 death of Nihipali-Moniz, and abusing him and his siblings for months prior at the Lailani Apartment complex in Kealakehe.

Nihipali-Moniz was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31, 2018, after being taken by medics from the Kailua Fire Station to Kona Community Hospital. The 6-year-old was brought unconscious by a family member to the fire station.

Police said the child was reportedly involved in an “incident” and been found unconscious at the Lailani Apartment complex on Manawalea Street. The child’s death was ruled a homicide after autopsy results revealed the cause of death involved trauma.

Anyone who suspects that someone is abusing or neglecting a child, should call the toll-free statewide Child Abuse and Neglect reporting line at (888) 380-3088. Reports can be filed anonymously.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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