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Maui men indicted for hate crime in 2014 attack to Caucasian man

A federal grand jury indictment charged two Maui men with a hate crime for what officials called a racially motivated attack on a white man who was attempting to move into their neighborhood of Kahakuloa.

The District of Hawaii U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictment Friday of Kaulana Alo Kaonohi and Levi Aki Jr., who are accused of injuring the victim, identified only as C.K., with a shovel because of his race in an incident on Feb. 13, 2014.

“Violence perpetrated towards others on the basis of race is an intolerable form of conduct that we must combat as a law enforcement community and a nation,” U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price for the District of Hawaii said in the Friday announcement. “My office will do its part to protect the public by holding those who commit hate crimes accountable for their conduct.”

If convicted, the men could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, according to the news release.

The FBI conducted the investigation.

Aki and Kaonohi were sentenced for the 2014 incident in separate proceedings on Maui.

During a 2nd Circuit Court hearing in 2019, Christopher Kunzelman testified that he, his uncle and friends had been renovating a house he bought on Kahekili Highway, expecting it would be the “final house” for his wife, who had been diagnosed with a potentially disabling disease.

He said the attack was captured in a 23-minute video, along with Kunzelman’s pleas for the men to stop.

“Instead, they said, ‘We’re going to tie you up and drag you, you haole f–er. You’re going missing today, I swear to God. We’re going to cut you up and feed you to the fishes,’ “ Kunzelman said.

He said the defendants told him, “It’s nothing personal, you just have the wrong f–king color skin.”

Aki was sentenced by 2nd Circuit Court in 2019 to four years’ probation and was given credit for more than six months he had spent in jail. Later that year, Alo Kaonohi was sentenced to four years’ probation.

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