Plea deal still on table in alleged child starvation

  • SHAELYNN LEHANO-STONE

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Kevin Lehano appears Monday in Hilo Circuit Court with his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sherilyn Tavares.

  • From left: Henrietta Stone, Kevin Lehano and Tiffany Stone

A plea deal is still in the works for a 52-year-old Hilo man accused of starving his 9-year-old daughter to death more than four years ago.

On Monday, Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota told Kevin Lehano that his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sherilyn Tavares, is “trying to work out some plea deal for you with the state.”

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Kubota ordered Lehano to return to court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 28 for further proceedings.

Lehano is the father of Shaelynn Lehano-Stone, and faces a second-degree murder charge for the girl’s death. Also accused of second-degree murder are the girl’s 36-year-old mother, Tiffany Stone, and 62-year-old grandmother, Henrietta Stone.

Police and emergency medical personnel were summoned June 28, 2016, to a Kinoole Street apartment almost directly across from Hilo’s central fire station. They reportedly found Lehano-Stone unconscious and severely malnourished. The girl was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she died a few hours later.

Lehano-Stone, whom court documents state was developmentally disabled, was removed from Hilo Union Elementary School to be home-schooled by Henrietta Stone, who was the girl’s legal guardian. The indictments state the girl was denied adequate food, water and medical care from “on or about Oct. 23, 2015,” until her death.

Tiffany Stone, who was found fit to stand trial, has a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. July 15 on a motion to dismiss filed by her court-appointed attorney, Melody Parker, and a motion in opposition filed by Deputy Prosecutor Suzanna Tiapula. Parker is alleging prosecutorial misconduct in her motion and requesting the indictment against Tiffany Stone be dismissed with prejudice, which means prosecutors would be precluded from re-filing charges.

Among the allegations in Parker’s motion is that each defendant should have been presented to the grand jury separately and that grand jurors were unfairly prejudiced by bad acts allegedly committed by Lehano and Henrietta Stone. Also alleged is that the now-retired deputy prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury, Rick Damerville, deliberately relied on “significant hearsay” during grand jury proceedings.

Tiapula’s motion, which requests Parker’s motion be stricken from the record, alleges misconduct by defense counsel. Among the arguments is that Parker shouldn’t have included snippets of secret grand jury testimony in her motion and that a sealed copy of the entire grand jury transcript should have, instead, been attached to Parker’s motion.

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Henrietta Stone, who is undergoing a court-ordered mental examination, has a hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. July 17 before Kubota. Reports from the three examiners are due to the judge by Friday.

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

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