Women plead not guilty to Halloween murder of 6-year-old boy

  • KUUIPO NIHIPALI
  • ASHLEY NIHIPALI

Two Hawaiian Paradise Park women charged by indictment for the Halloween night death of a 6-year-old boy in Kona entered not guilty pleas to all charges Monday.

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto ordered 34-year-old Ashley Rose Nihipali, aka Ashley Balai, and 32-year-old Kuuipo Leinaala Nihipali to appear for a jury trial at 9 a.m. Nov. 12 before Kona Circuit Judge Robert Kim.

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Kuuipo Nihipali faces charges of second-degree murder, being an accomplice to second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, first-degree hindering prosecution, two counts of being an accomplice to first-degree terroristic threatening, and six counts of being an accomplice to domestic abuse.

Ashley Nihipali faces charges of being an accomplice to second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, two counts of being an accomplice to terroristic threatening and six counts of being an accomplice to domestic abuse.

The women, a married couple, had informal custody of the victim, identified by police as Mazen Kaniela Nihipali-Moniz of Kailua-Kona, in a hanai arrangement.

Both turned themselves in to police on Monday after a previously sealed indictment was returned Aug. 1 by a grand jury. The indictment was ordered unsealed Monday by Nakamoto.

Police say the boy was injured in an incident on Oct. 31 at an apartment complex in the 74-900 block of Manawalea Street in Kailua-Kona, where the women lived at the time. The boy was taken unconscious to the Kailua-Kona Fire Station at about 4:30 p.m. that day.

He was then taken by ambulance to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 5:30 p.m.

Injuries sustained by the child were not consistent with those from an accident, authorities said.

The murder charges stem from that incident, while while the remaining charges they face have offense dates spanning from June 1, 2018, to Oct. 30, 2018, according to court records.

Bench warrants setting bail at $1 million for each woman were issued and both were ordered not to have contact with three minors identified as T. N-M., S-N.M,, and K. N-M., court records state.

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Both women are in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of bail.

Email John Burnett at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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