Tuesday, March 28, 2023 |
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Joshua Ho appears in Hilo Circuit Court with Deputy Public Defender K. Kenji Akamu on Friday. (Kelsey Walling/Hawaii Tribune-Herald)
The case of a 21-year-old Hilo man accused of fatally stabbing his grandparents will be heard in Kailua-Kona.
Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto said Friday that he and Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota have both recused themselves from the case of Joshua Ho.
The two deceased victims in the attack are Jeffrey and Carla Takamine, both 68, and the owners of Big Island Delights. They were found stabbed to death in their Panaewa home on Jan. 16.
Ho was indicted Wednesday by a Hilo grand jury. The four-count indictment charges him with first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and a single count of attempted second-degree murder.
The victim in the attempted murder charge is Ho’s 28-year-old brother, Kaulana Ho, who suffered stab wounds to his head and ribs — allegedly in an attempt to disarm his younger brother of a knife. Kaulana Ho was treated for his injuries at the Hilo Medical Center emergency room and released.
Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach on Jan. 16 ordered a mental examination for Ho by three doctors. Nakamoto ordered that the hearing about the results of those examinations be held at 8:30 a.m. April 6 before Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim in Kailua-Kona.
Deputy Public Defender K. Kenji Akamu told Nakamoto that the defense and prosecution “are in agreement that Hawaii State Hospital would be the appropriate … facility for (Ho’s) detention.”
After Deputy Public Defender Jeff Malate voiced his agreement, the judge ordered Ho moved from the Hawaii Community Correctional Center to the state mental hospital in Kaneohe, Oahu.
According to court documents, Cheryl Ho, the mother of the suspect and daughter of the slain couple, called police to the family’s Makalika Street home at 6:53 a.m. on Jan. 16, reporting that Joshua Ho was experiencing a schizophrenic episode and had a knife.
When police arrived, documents state, Kaulana Ho and Guy Ho, the father, were restraining Joshua Ho.
A blood-stained kitchen knife with an 8-inch blade, believed to be the murder weapon, was recovered at the scene, documents state.
The first-degree murder charge, a rarity in Hawaii, is because there were multiple fatalities in the incident. The charge, upon conviction, carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors provided notice in the indictment of their intention to seek an extended term of imprisonment, alleging that Ho is an offender against the elderly.
If granted by the judge, that would make a conviction on the two second-degree murder charges also subject to a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
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