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Trial begins for man accused of murder during Tantalus heist

May 3—1/1

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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / [email protected]

Nainoa Damon, heart, is proven in court docket Monday, charged within the 2022 loss of life of Haaheo Kolona on Round Top Drive. At left is legal professional Nelson Goo.

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A trial commenced Thursday for the 22-year-old son of a Honolulu police sergeant accused of murdering an 18-year-old man who tried to cease a theft on Tantalus in 2022.

Nainoa Damon is accused of robbing at gunpoint on March 18, 2022, a big group of pals who arrived in 4 completely different automobiles on the Round Top Drive lookout overlooking Manoa, then fatally taking pictures Haaheo Kolona.

But his lawyer, Nelson Goo, mentioned in his opening assertion that his shopper was not the shooter and was by no means on the scenic lookout that night time.

Goo mentioned Damon, who was 19 on the time, turned himself in March 19, 2022, on the Wahiawa police station on the urging of his mom, a police sergeant, who mentioned to do it for his personal security, however denying he was the shooter.

Deputy Prosecutor Anna Ishikawa mentioned the buddies have been out having fun with the night time, drove up Round Top Drive, shaped a semicircle with their automobiles and socialized, some ingesting, having fun with the town lights.

That’s when a four-door sedan pulled up. Two males emerged. One of them was the defendant, she mentioned.

He stunned them, she mentioned. He wore a ski masks and stepped into the semicircle, brandishing a handgun.

“He told 15 to 20 of them to ‘shut up. It’s a robbery. Empty your pockets.’ And they were scared. ‘Put your hands up.'”

Ishikawa mentioned Damon then went as much as Edward Aiden Curti, put him in a chokehold, pointed his gun at his head and tugged on a gold chain he wore to get it off his neck.

“Those individuals that were there, they stood still as they were scared. But Haaheo, he stepped forward, and he reached for his handgun that was tucked in his waistband.

“Just as he was pulling it out, the defendant seen, turned his consideration away from Aiden, pointed his gun at Haaheo … and shot him within the stomach.”

Kolona’s friends rushed him to Kapiolani Medical Center, arriving just after

2 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 3:45 a.m.

Some went to the hospital while other friends scattered. “Aiden jumped into a close-by bush.”

Ishikawa said police had responded to a fireworks call.

Police officer Jozlyn Harrington testified she responded to the initial

1:53 a.m. call and arrived at 2:02 a.m. and found fresh blood spatter and a single spent casing nearby. She spoke with Curti, and later with friends who returned to pick him up.

Ishikawa told jurors

they will hear how police learned the shooter’s identity from witnesses, who knew it was Damon based on his features and knowing him from high school.

Police also investigated the four-door sedan, linking it to Damon, who turned himself in to police, she said.

Damon is charged with second-degree murder, firearm charges, first-degree robbery and first-degree terroristic threatening.

Ishikawa told jurors, “After all of the proof is introduced to you on this trial, we’ll return to you and ask you to carry the defendant accountable … and you discover him responsible on all these counts, responsible of taking the life of 18-year-old Haaheo Kolona, a life that’s gone without end.”

Goo said Kolona’s blood alcohol content was .12, well above the legal limit for driving, and cast doubt on the witnesses, saying the others were drunk and smoking cannabis and that it was too dark since the area has no lights.

Damon had gone to a rap performance in Chinatown with a group of friends until 1:30 a.m. and was a passenger in the car with three or four other males, and they were supposed to go to Li­liha afterward, Goo said.

The shooting occurred between 1:45 and 1:50 a.m., he said.

Goo said Damon’s phone, tracked by cellphone towers, will show his phone was in Chinatown at 1:37 a.m., according to an FBI agent, who will be called by the state to testify. At 1:56 a.m. his phone was tracked in Pauoa, near Roosevelt High School and Papakolea.

Goo said that at 1:46 a.m. there was not enough data to show he was in a certain area, and the FBI agent will say since there is only one tower in Tantalus where there is a wooded area, triangulation is not possible.

The shooter was wearing a full-face ski mask, but witnesses disagreed on the color and some said he wore a hat. Some said they recognized his voice. Some said he had a high-pitched voice, which Damon does not have, Goo said.

Goo said there is nothing tying Damon to the car.

“Where’s the gun?” Goo asks, including there is no such thing as a gun, no gunpowder residue, no DNA proof, no picture or surveillance proof.

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