Woman testifies that she lied to police to protect her ‘innocent’ then-boyfriend

Keohuhu testified Wednesday that she was outside and didn’t see the stabbing attack

Kaleolani Keohuhu wipes away tears as she testifies Wednesday in the 2nd Circuit Court attempted-murder trial of Calvin Borge. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

WAILUKU — A woman testified that she falsely confessed to cutting another woman’s neck because she believed a man accused of the crime was innocent.

Kaleolani Keohuhu said she had gone outside to get a beer when Deanna Bolen Nitta was injured in the early-morning hours of Feb. 19, 2013, during a gathering in a Piilani housing apartment in Lahaina.

“I didn’t see it,” Keohuhu said. “I didn’t see what happened is what I’m saying.”

Keohuhu testified Wednesday in the 2nd Circuit Court trial of Calvin Borge, 53, of Kula. 

He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder of Bolen Nitta.

Resident Wade Waikiki had invited Bolen Nitta and her husband, Regan Nitta, to the apartment for a cookout, and they arrived at 5 or 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18, 2013. Waikiki said Keohuhu and her then-boyfriend, Borge, were there after having shown up uninvited at about 2 p.m. 

After grilling pupu and drinking beer into the night, Nitta said he was finishing his last beer when Borge came out of the bathroom, went behind Bolen Nitta, put her in a chokehold and “sliced her.”

After police and medics responded to a 2:18 a.m. emergency call, she was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where she was treated for a laceration across her neck and two lacerations to fingers on her left hand.

Officer Michael Bocon, who arrived six minutes after the 911 call, testified he saw Bolen Nitta lying on the ground while Nitta kneeled over her and used a towel to put pressure on her neck.

“He kind of went back and forth between being very concerned for his girlfriend and being very enraged,” Bocon said. 

When Nitta looked across the room where Borge was lying on a bed with Keohuhu, Nitta would say, “That f—ing guy, he killed my wife,” Bocon said.

He said Nitta, who was drunk, said he had taken the knife and stabbed Borge, saying, “I like him dead.”

While Nitta identified Borge as the one who slit Bolen Nitta’s throat, Keohuhu told another officer that she did it.

Keohuhu said she had grabbed the knife from her right pants pocket and pulled it across Bolen Nitta’s neck, officer Martin Marfil testified Tuesday. He said Keohuhu reported that Bolen Nitta “was making too much noise with her mouth and her radio” and swore at Keohuhu before she cut her.

Later, Keohuhu also at first told detectives that she had cut Bolen Nitta, giving different accounts of how it happened.

Testifying Wednesday, Keohuhu said none of what she told police was true.

“It was all lies,” she said. “Everything I said to the detectives was lies.”

When Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa asked how Bolen Nitta was injured, Keohuhu said, “I have no clue.”

Keohuhu, who had been subpoenaed to testify last week in the trial, said she wasn’t in court that day because “my ride nevah showed up.”

A $20,000 bench warrant was issued for Keohuhu, 47, who was arrested Tuesday evening, police records show.

Keohuhu said she is a drug addict who relapsed three months ago after being clean for four years.

On the night Bolen Nitta was injured, Keohuhu said she was drinking, taking pills and smoking crystal methamphetamine.

Keohuhu identified Borge as “my husband,” but said they aren’t together now.

She said she carried a loaded .357 Magnum handgun, which she brought to the apartment that night, “because I was raped several times.”

She described the knife as a 5-inch “letter opener” that might have been in her folder with mail.

Responding to a jury question asking why she would lie to police and take responsibility for something she didn’t do, Keohuhu said, “Wouldn’t you?”

When she was questioned further by Higa, she said, “Wouldn’t anybody? If somebody was innocent and you don’t know what went on, if everybody was pointing fingers at somebody . . . “

Higa asked how she knew Borge was innocent.

“Cause he’s not capable,” she said. “I just know, just because of him being a gentle soul, that’s the only reason why.”

“So you figured you would take the responsibility to save him?” Higa asked.

“Yes,” Keohuhu said. “Wouldn’t anybody? I guess only I feel that way.”

“You loved him at the time?” Higa asked.

“I still do,” she said. “I still care for him.”

Higa asked whether Keohuhu expected anyone to believe her after she had lied to the police so many times.

“Probably not,” she said.

After the prosecution concluded its case Wednesday afternoon, the defense introduced statements from police officers’ interviews, including Detective Gordon Sagun’s recorded interview with Bolen Nitta in a hallway at Piilani housing at 11:34 a.m. Feb. 19, 2013.

Bolen Nitta told the detective, “I remember she said, ‘You’re the chosen’ . . . then I went to get a drink. The next thing I know, she grabbed and sliced my neck with a knife.”

When Sagun asked if Bolen Nitta saw who did it, she said, “I could tell it was her.”

Asked if she was 100 percent sure it was a female, Bolen Nitta said she didn’t see her attacker’s face. “I could just tell,” she said.

The defense rested after Judge Richard Bissen questioned Borge while the jury was out of the courtroom, and Borge said he didn’t want to testify.

Closing arguments in the trial were scheduled for today.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.