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Man Charged in End of the World Murder Remanded Back Into Custody

By Tiffany DeMasters
June 30, 2021, 6:23 PM HST
* Updated June 30, 7:22 PM
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A Captain Cook man accused of murder was retroactively denied bail and remanded back into custody Wednesday after posting $550,000 in bail and walking free two days prior.

A wheelchair-bound Ioane Asagra appeared before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Robert DS Kim at the Kona courthouse Wednesday afternoon and entered a plea of not guilty on the charges of second-degree murder and first-degree arson, then demanded a jury trial.

That trial has been scheduled for Oct. 19, 2021.

During the hearing, the court heard testimony from the state and the defense, the latter of which argued against the Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney’s motion of no bail.

Asagra’s relatives posted a bond to secure his release on Monday, June 28. Asagra, 27, who is currently facing robbery charges in two separate felony cases, was out on more than $500,000 bail when the murder investigation began. The shooting death of victim Joey Richmond occurred on May 25, 2021.

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Deputy Prosecutor Chase Murray called witnesses from Hawai‘i Police Department currently investigating the murder as well as Asagra’s probation officer, Nannette Napalapalia, who’s been his supervisor since October 2017. Asagra has been on probation since pleading guilty to felony drug offenses.

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Napalapalia testified that Asagra has violated his probation, including not reporting to her when required by the court to do so.

“I don’t think he’s supervisable in the community,” she stated.

Citing Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Murray argued for no bail on the basis there is a risk Asagra will flee, that he poses a danger to a person or the community, and/or that he will engage in illegal activity.

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Defense Counsel William Reece argued the purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant appears in court and to protect the community. Witnesses for the defense testified Asagra was unable to walk without the aid of walker after suffering serious injuries from burns and needs regular medical treatment.

“The court does have the power to put him on electronic monitoring at his expense,” Reece said. “This isn’t a trifling bond. There’s simply too much at stake. The time to flee would’ve been last night.”

Considering all factors and testimony given, Kim stated the court found there is no condition that will reasonably assure the safety of the community, or that Asagra would not flee or reoffend.

Asagra was taken into custody immediately after the hearing and was transported back to Hawai‘‘i Community Correctional Center. Reece asked the court if his client might be allowed to return to the Straub Burn Center in Honolulu on Thursday, July 1, for treatment of third-degree burns potentially suffered in connection to this case.

Kim denied the request.

Asagra made $572,025 bail in April and was free at the time of Richmond’s shooting death the following month. On May 25, officers found Richmond’s body at the end of Keauhou Kainaliu Road, also known as the End of the World. Police say he was shot multiple times. The next day, the victim’s vehicle was found torched at the bottom of a cliff side in South Kona.

Asagra was arrested on June 16 on an outstanding warrant as well as on charges in connection to Richmond’s death. Police took him into custody at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport after Asagra returned from O‘ahu where he had received treatment at Straub Burn Center.

Asagra was charged in District Court with second-degree murder and first-degree arson in connection to the death of Richmond. He was indicted in the case on June 24.

Asagra is facing life in prison with the possibility of parole in the murder case. However, according to the indictment, the prosecutor’s office alleges Asagra is subject to extended terms of imprisonment due to the fact he is a “persistent offender” and has already been convicted on two felonies.

If the court grants the prosecutor’s terms, it would take away the possibility of parole  should a jury render a guilty verdict.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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