$250K bail for Kona assault suspects

  • Lama Lauvao, left, Natisha Tautalatasi and Wesley Samoa make their first appearance Wednesday in District court for attempted murder charges. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Defense attorney Matthew Sylva, second from left, represents Lama Lauvao, Wesley Samoa and Natisha Tautaltasi at their initial court appearance Wednesday in District Court for the charge of attempted murder. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Defense attorney Matthew Sylva, second from left, represents Lama Lauvao, Wesley Samoa and Natisha Tautalatasi at their initial court appearance Wednesday in District Court for the charge of attempted murder. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Defense attorney Matthew Sylva, left, represents Lama Lauvao, Natisha Tautaltasi and Wesley Samoa at their initial court appearance Wednesday in District Court for the charge of attempted murder. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Wesley Samoa, charged with attempted murder, makes his first court appearance Wednesday in District Court. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KEALAKEKUA — A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Friday for the three suspects accused of beating a hotel security guard earlier this week.

Wesley Samoa, Lama Lauvao and Natisha Tautalatasi made their initial appearance Wednesday morning in District Court.

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The three are charged with second-degree attempted murder in connection to a near-death beating about 12:30 Monday when they allegedly got into a verbal confrontation with a security guard while parked at Kona Seaside Hotel. According to Hawaii Police, the confrontation escalated into the three individuals physically assaulting the guard.

Because of the severity of his injuries, the 63-year-old victim was flown to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu for further treatment. As of press time Wednesday, he remained in critical condition.

During Wednesday’s hearing, defense counsel Matthew Sylva requested that the $250,000 bail be reduced for each of the defendants. Samoa, 30, of Kona, addressed Judge Margaret Masunaga in this request.

Samoa asked about getting supervised release. He agreed to be on house arrest to have the ability to go to and from work.

Deputy Prosecutor Chase Murray opposed the reduction in bail and supervised release, indicating the charge is serious and, if convicted, carries a long-term punishment, which makes him a potential flight risk.

Masunaga maintained bail at $250,000 for Samoa. However, she provided bail conditions if he did make bail, which were to check in with Hawaii Intake Service Center, check in with his attorney once a week and appear for all court appearances.

The judge added the condition that Samoa not go within 300 yards of Seaside Hotel or the victim.

Lauvao, 30, and Tautalatasi, 41, also appealed to Masunaga for supervised release or a reduction in bail as they both live in Honolulu and would like to continue to provide for their families as their cases move forward.

Again, the judge denied their requests and bail was maintained at $250,000. The same bail conditions applied to Samoa would be applied to Lauvao and Tautalatasi if they were to bail out.

Masunaga scheduled a preliminary hearing for each on Friday morning.

The courtroom was filled with family in support of Samoa as well as Lauvao and Tautalatasi. The family confirmed they three defendants are relatives.

After the hearing, Samoa’s mother, Ilaisa, said her son is a loving person.

“He’s a family man,” she said. “People have their moments.”

Ilaisa offered a “humble heart” to the security guard and his family.

“Our heart, it’s with him and his family,” she said. “We’re praying for the victim and the family that they have peace.”

Samoa’s brother agreed that what he did was terrible. “We all know this.” He added it doesn’t mean the family won’t be there to show their love and support.

Samoa’s sister added that they accept the process that he’s in, right now, so the family of the victim receives justice, too.

More details about the reported attack were released Wednesday by Hawaii Police. According to a press release, the security guard was responding to a loud noise complaint when he made contact with the three defendants as well as Mahealani Kanehailua, 33, of Kona.

The four were occupying a black SUV in the hotel’s parking lot.

According to the release, the three suspects physically assaulted the security guard who was seated in the hotel’s security golf cart, “pulling him from the vehicle onto the parking lot driveway, where the three alternated punching and kicking him, even after it appeared he was unconscious.”

The release indicates that Kona patrol officers responded to the scene and located the four individuals and eventually arrested them.

Kanehailua was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

After the incident Monday, the victim’s son posted an update of his father on Facebook: “Earlier today my Father was assaulted doing his job as a Security Guard and is currently on a ventilator. He just underwent surgery on his spinal cord in hopes to prevent swelling and in the future breathe again without a ventilator. This is a hard time for our family and hope no one has to go through this.”

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He asked anyone with information to provide it to police. Detective David Matsushima has been assigned to the case. He can be reached at 326-4646, ext. 224, or via email at david.matsushima@hawaiicounty.gov. People can also call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Attempts to reach the family directly were unsuccessful as of press time Wednesday.