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State briefs for October 24

Defendant: Hawaii machete attack victim was Satan’s minion

WAILUKU, Maui — A Maui man on trial for a fatal machete attack at a shopping center believed the victim was one of Satan’s minions, according to his testimony.

Kumulipo Sylva, 24, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the March 2018 death of 35-year-old Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo. Kyle Keoho and Cerezo were drinking alcohol in a public bathroom at the Queen Kaahumanu Center on Maui when Sylva entered and struck Cerezo in the neck with the machete, Keoho testified last week.

Cerezo died instantly, authorities said.

Sylva was suffering from a mental disorder that caused him to experience delusions, said Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal.

Sylva was “in a fog” for days and cannot remember much about the attack because his mental health medication was stolen. He was homeless and received psychiatric medication the night before at a hospital emergency room, Sylva testified Monday.

“The person you swung at in the bathroom, what was that person?” Lowenthal asked Sylva during testimony.

“One of Satan’s minions,” Sylva said. “I told him, ‘Tell Satan, Kumulipo sent you,’ and I swung.”

Sylva challenged Cerezo to a fight in a nearby parking structure earlier in the afternoon and the men heard Sylva talking about demons while riding a bus to the shopping center, Keoho testified.

Sylva said that after the attack he told Keoho, “That was a demon, dude,” before leaving the building.

“If he was allowed to think like most people think and not know that that was a demonic being that I had just dispatched, he would have been freaking out twice as much,” Sylva said. “So I had to tell him.”

Lawsuit says grounded vessel’s captain left bridge unwatched

HONOLULU — A lawsuit filed by the federal government says the captain of a fishing vessel that ran aground off Oahu left the bridge unattended for hours.

The government is suing the company that owns Pacific Paradise for the $1.6 million cost of removing the threat of fuel discharge.

The lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court names TWOL LLC and company officers Nguyen Ngoc Tran and Loi Chi Hang as defendants.

An attorney for TWOL did not respond to a request for comment.

The filing says the Pacific Paradise arrived at Honolulu Harbor in October 2017, but was not immediately cleared to enter port.

The lawsuit says Tran stopped the vessel offshore and went below deck before the ship drifted and grounded on a reef.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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