Man acquitted of murder fighting deportation

  • A Go Fund Me account was started for Eber Miranda-Garcia to raise money for legal fees to fight deportation to Honduras. The 29-year-old, who was acquitted of second-degree murder of his landlord in March, has an application pending cancellation of removal. (Photo via Go Fund Me/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A Holualoa man acquitted of murder is now fighting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stay with his family on the Big Island.

The family of Eber Miranda-Garcia is raising money for legal fees and expenses as he fights deportation back to Honduras. The 29-year-old was immediately taken into custody following the acquittal of his criminal case in March. An immigration judge granted him $4,000 bond and he has since been reunited with his family.

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“An immigration judge granted Miranda-Garcia bond, and he was subsequently released on April 9,” said ICE spokesperson Paul Prince. “Miranda-Garcia remains in the agency’s Alternatives to Detention program while removal proceedings are ongoing.”

Miranda-Garcia, along with his brothers Marlon and Himer, and his wife Jessilyn Hoohuli, were initially arrested in 2017 in connection to the 2015 murder of their landlord, Dolores “Lolo” Borja Valle. Ultimately, Eber and Marlon were charged with second-degree murder.

Lolo’s body was found dumped in a Captain Cook coffee field off of Keopuka Mauka Road. His truck was later found abandoned in Ocean View. It took two years before police made an arrest in the case. The investigation focused on Eber and Marlon Miranda-Garcia after tower dumps on cellphone towers revealed their phones were in the area and in use at the time Lolo was suspected to be murdered and left in the coffee field.

Initially tried together, a weeks long trial in 2018 ended in a mistrial when the jury could not return a verdict for Eber Miranda-Garcia and his brother. The cases were eventually split and Eber Miranda-Garcia was again tried in March where he was found not guilty.

Marlon Miranda-Garcia is scheduled to go to trial on July 23.

After Eber Miranda-Garcia was acquitted on March 23, ICE took him into custody following his release from Hawaii Community Correctional Center to a facility on Oahu.

According to ICE, all reporting requirements for those checking in with the department are determined on a case-by-case basis. The frequency and duration of check-ins are dependent on many factors including, but not limited to, pending appeals or petitions, issuance of travel documents, or future hearings before an immigration judge.

“Aliens on the ‘non-detained’ docket may be subject to various forms of supervision, such as reporting requirements, travel restrictions, and enrollment in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Program (including telephonic reporting or Global Positioning System monitoring),” ICE officials state. “The appropriate conditions of release are determined on a case-by-case basis after a review of the individual facts of the case.”

Eber Miranda-Garcia’s criminal attorney, Terri Fujioka-Lilley, said the 29-year-old has an application pending cancellation of removal.

Fujioka-Lilley has represented Eber Miranda-Garcia since his preliminary hearing in 2017. Other than the criminal case against him, she said there’s no reason to think he’d ever be trouble.

Fujioka-Lilley spearheaded the Go Fund Me account “Help Super Dad Stay With Family” to raise money for the 29-year-old’s legal fees, asking for $20,000. In the 26 days the fundraiser has been running, $2,595 have been raised.

Fujioka-Lilley said she’s never had a client like Eber Miranda-Garcia.

“His family is so supportive,” she said, adding his wife and in-laws have done everything to help Eber.

“They’re the sweetest people,” Fujioka-Lilley said. “If I practice for 100 years I’ll always remember Eber.”

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An update was posted on the Go Fund Me site, indicating how Eber Miranda-Garcia was able to reunite with his family.

“Still a long way to go, but we are so appreciative of everyone who has helped us get back together for now,” the post states.

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