Aki deemed fit for trial
By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 44-year-old Nanawale Estates man accused of shooting his neighbor to death in May was found fit to stand trial.
Three mental health professionals, state Department of Health psychologist Dr. Thomas Cunningham and psychiatrists Drs. Henry Yang and Alex Bisset, examined Seon Keoni Aki and found he was capable of understanding the charges against him and assisting in his own defense.
Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara ordered Aki to appear for trial 8:30 a.m. Jan. 27, 2014.
Aki pleaded not guilty Oct. 2 to charges stemming from the fatal shooting May 20 of his next-door neighbor, 40-year-old Mateo D. Balinbin Jr., at Balinbin’s Maui Street home. Police said Balinbin, aka “Braddah Boy,” died from a single gunshot to the head.
A six-count indictment dated Sept. 26 charged Aki with second-degree murder, terroristic threatening, use of a firearm in a felony, illegal place to keep pistol and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The terroristic threatening charge is because Aki allegedly chased a neighbor, Don Sambrana, out of Balinbin’s house while brandishing a black semi-automatic pistol. According to court documents, Sambrana told police he was in the same room when the shooting occurred but didn’t actually see the shot being fired.
Thursday’s hearing had none of the drama from spectators or bizarre behavior from Aki that occurred during previous court proceedings.
In October, a man shouted from the gallery to “give him the death sentence, already,” while a woman yelled Aki “could continue to breathe, even though he shot my son.”
And as Aki was being led out of District Court on May 28, Aki looked toward the back of the courtroom gallery and yelled: “They’re raping people down at the house! You should know!”
A woman’s voice shot back: “You’re the molester!”
In addition to being a convicted felon, Aki is a registered sex offender. He was charged with first-degree sex assault in 2001, but in a deal with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to third-degree sex assault Jan, 29, 2003, and was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served and 10 years probation, according to court records.
In addition to sex offender registration, Aki was ordered to seek psychosexual and anger-management treatment.
On Jan. 19, 2007, Aki was found to have violated his probation, and Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura reset the clock on his 10-year probationary term.
Aki remains in custody in Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $360,000 bail.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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