Evaluations find man fit to proceed in trial for murder

A Molokai man charged with the fatal shooting of his girlfriend in March was found fit to proceed Thursday based on three mental evaluations submitted to 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza.

The trial date for Marlin Lavoie, 33, of Honouliwai is set for Jan. 13. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, keeping a loaded firearm in an improper place, abuse and third-degree assault.

The trial date was originally scheduled a week earlier, but Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa asked for more time due to off-island witnesses and experts traveling to Maui.

The shooting occurred the night of March 20 while 24-year-old Malia Kahalewai was at a friend’s apartment at the Kawela Barns complex on Molokai. She had repeatedly told Lavoie to leave because she didn’t want to talk to him before he went to his car, retrieved a rifle and shot Kahalewai as she sat on a porch outside the apartment, witnesses told police.

Kahalewai died of a single gunshot wound to her chest, police said.

Lavoie, who drove away after the shooting, was arrested the next morning when he surrendered to police near his residence. Police recovered the Remington bolt-action 30-06 rifle used to shoot Kahalewai.

Kahalewai and Lavoie had been in a relationship for nine years and had four children, police said.

As a felon with convictions for first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery, Lavoie was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, according to court records.