NATIONAL NEWS

Hawaiian men imprisoned for hate crime beating to pay $25K

Apr 5, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 12:32 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — Two Native Hawaiian men sentenced to prison for a hate crime in the brutal beating of a white man have agreed to pay more than $25,000 in restitution, according to court documents.

A U.S. judge last month sentenced Kaulana Alo-Kaonohi to six and a half years in prison and Levi Aki Jr. to four years and two months in prison.

In a case that laid bare multicultural Hawaii’s complicated and nuanced race relations, a jury in November found them guilty of a hate crime. Jurors found that they were motivated by Christopher Kunzelman’s race when they punched, kicked and used a shovel to beat him in 2014 when he tried to move into their remote fishing village on the island of Maui. His injuries included a concussion, two broken ribs and head trauma.

Attorneys for Aki and Alo-Kaonohi say it wasn’t Kunzelman’s race that provoked them, but his entitled and disrespectful attitude. Kunzelman and his wife had purchased a dilapidated oceanfront home in Kahakuloa village on Maui and planned to move there from Arizona. Kunzelman was trying to fix up the house when the attack happened.

A court document filed this week says both men and prosecutors have agreed on $25,413.91 in restitution, to be paid jointly by Aki and Alo-Kaonohi. The amount includes nearly $11,000 in medical costs, $846 for an iPhone and $78.02 “for the loss of the roofing shovel used.”

The men took Kunzelman’s phone, which recorded the attack, and threw it in the ocean, prosecutors said.

Kunzelman had requested $60,425.53.

His wife, Lori Kunzelman, said Wednesday they are not hopeful about receiving money from Aki and Alo-Kaonohi.

“We’ll never get anything back,” she said.

Salina Kanai, an attorney for Alo-Kaonohi, declined to comment. Aki’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Aki and Alo-Kaonohi won’t be expected to begin paying monthly installments until they are released from prison.

Both men have started the process for an appeal, asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the case.

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