Man, woman charged with sexual assault make initial appearances

  • MISTY KAMELAMELA
  • JOEL WHITE
  • JOANNA KAWELO
  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Kahiwaokalani Hodson, right, appears with attorney Donald Wilkerson Monday in Hilo District Court.

HILO — A man awaiting retrial on an attempted murder charge and a woman — both accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Puna late last month — made their initial court appearances Monday.

Joel Hanalei White, a 40-year-old Waimea man, is charged with first-degree sexual assault and kidnapping.

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Kahiwaokalani Recca Hodson, also known as Kahiwa Hodson, a 50-year-old Keaau woman, is charged with first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping, first-degree assault, first-degree terroristic threatening, two counts of second-degree assault, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police say the charges stem from an incident that allegedly took place throughout several days during the last week of May in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

The victim, a 36-year-old woman, was treated at Hilo Medical Center for multiple injuries. She told police she was kidnapped, held at the house at gunpoint, beaten and sexually assaulted.

A third individual, Misty K. Kamelamela, is accused of kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, second- and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with the same incident.

Hodson and Kamelamela were arrested after police served a search warrant Thursday at the house, which police say is on 29th Avenue.

The drugs reportedly found were methamphetamine, marijuana and marijuana concentrate.

White was taken into custody Friday in South Kohala.

A fourth person, 35-year-old Joanna Lei Kawelo of Pahoa, was arrested Monday in Nanawale Estates on suspicion of kidnapping, sexual assault, assault, terroristic threatening and prohibited possession of a firearm. She is being detained at the Hilo police cellblock on three unrelated warrants while detectives investigate.

Hilo District Judge Diana Van De Car ordered Hodson, White and Kamelamela to appear at 2 p.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Hodson remains in custody in lieu of $54,020 bail. White’s bail is $35,000, and Kamelamela’s is $7,000.

The two most severe charges, first-degree sexual assault and kidnapping, are Class C felonies that carry a maximum prison term of 20 years upon conviction. First-degree assault and second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug are Class B felonies that carry a potential 10-year prison term. First-degree terroristic threatening and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug are C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.

The other charges are misdemeanors.

A Kona jury in 2015 found White guilty of attempted murder and first-degree burglary for the April 17, 2014, stabbing of Jeremy Nicholas at Nicholas’ Waikoloa home.

Kona Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra, who presided over the weeklong trial, determined instructions given to the jury were insufficient and voided the panel’s verdict.

Prosecutors appealed the judge’s decision, and White is scheduled for a new trial on the attempted murder charge before Kona Circuit Judge Robert DS Kim on Aug. 27.

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White was free on $100,000 bail in the Kona case when the alleged assault occurred.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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