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Kona Woman Sentenced in Death of 6-Year-Old Boy

December 15, 2020, 5:45 PM HST
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Ashely Rose Nihipali. Image courtesy of HPD.

A Kona woman was sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison for her actions that led to the death of 6-year-old Mazen Nihipali-Moniz.

Ashley Nihipali, also known as Ashley Balai, appeared before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim on Dec. 11 where she was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years for manslaughter, along with a consecutive five years for the abuse charges.

Nihipali pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter for causing the death of Mazen on Oct. 31, 2018, as well as three counts of felony abuse of a family or household member for incidents occurring in 2018.

Prior to passing sentencing, Kim referred to the Nihipali household as a “house of horrors,” according to a press release from the Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

According to the release, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charles E. Murray III noted that Mazen’s siblings, his teachers, and the community as a whole were deeply traumatized by the death of Mazen and argued for the Court to sentence the Defendant to 25 years of prison.

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“Ashly Nihipali’s Attorney, Andrew M. Kennedy, spoke of the troubles in the Defendant’s upbringing, and the Defendant herself apologized to her family, the Court, and those seated in the courtroom,” the release indicated.

Kuuipo Leinaala Nihipali. Image courtesy of HPD.

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Nihipali’s co-defendant and spouse, Ku‘uipo Nihipali pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2020, before Judge Kim to three counts of felony abuse of a family or household member (for abusing Mazen and his brothers) as well as to one count of first-degree hindering prosecution for attempting to cover-up Nihipali’s killing of Mazen.

Ku‘uipo Nihipali’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2021.

“The close cooperation of the Hawai‘i Police Department and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney was critical in bringing the Nihipalis’ to justice,” the release stated.

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The prosecutor’s office encourages residents to report suspected child abuse or neglect by calling the toll-free reporting lines — neighbor islands at 888-380-3088 and O‘ahu at 808-832-5300.

Reports can be filed anonymously.

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