Kona man found guilty of unlawful imprisonment of a minor

  • Alexander Aquino leaves the courtroom Wednesday after being found guilty of unlawful imprisonment. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

A verdict was rendered Wednesday for 48-year-old South Kona man charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment and persistent nonsupport in connection to allegations of keeping a minor under the age of 16 chained to a floor after an April bench trial.

Alexander Aquino pleaded not guilty to the charges and opted for a bench trial presided over by Kona Circuit Court Judge Wendy DeWeese, not a jury.

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DeWeese found Aquino guilty on the charge of unlawful imprisonment and not guilty on the misdemeanor charge of persistent nonsupport.

During the two-day bench trial, the alleged victim described being confined to a lanai, only allowed into the main house when having to use the bathroom. The minor also testified to being chained, around the neck, with a 20-inch chain to the floor at night with only a towel and blanket for a bed for over a year.

Further testimony indicated sometime in 2020, while not chained up, the victim tried to escape from the lanai, which is 17 feet from the ground. The minor lost footing and fell, subsequently suffering a compression fracture to the spine. Aquino, the child’s step father and his wife, the child’s mother, failed to provide medical attention for the youth and after about a month continued the routine of the chain around the neck.

DeWeese supported her guilty verdict in the unlawful imprisonment charge saying Aquino knew the minor was at risk of serious bodily injury after the fall, a requisite to convict on that charge.

In August 2021, the youth testified to being able to scale the lanai and then hitchhiking to the Kailua-Kona Ross, where a good samaritan intervened and was able to seek help.

The minor further described putting the chain around the neck and padlocking it to the floor and being unable to sit up while chained. The chain was removed during the day.

The alleged victim claimed it was Aquino’s idea to use the chain and confinement to the lanai because “things were being broken around the house and dad thought it was me. I didn’t do any of it.”

The child was later placed in the custody of his maternal grandmother.

On April 22, Aquino’s wife Amy pleaded no contest to the charge of first-degree unlawful imprisonment. Sentencing for her is scheduled for July 8.

Aquino remains out on supervised release until his sentencing.

First-degree unlawful imprisonment is a class C felony punishable up to five years imprisonment.