Man sentenced to 20 years for raping teens

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Oran Kita, right, appears Friday with attorney Stanton Oshiro in Hilo Circuit Court.

A 40-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for the knifepoint rape of two teens shortly before Christmas 2015 in Hilo.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura handed down the sentence to Oran Charles Kita as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

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Kita pleaded guilty July 19 to 15 counts of first-degree sexual assault, seven counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts each of kidnapping and first-degree terroristic threatening and a single count of simple marijuana possession. Kita, who has been in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center since his arrest Dec. 23, 2015, will receive credit for time served.

In return for Kita’s guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to not seek extended terms of imprisonment, which could have subjected Kita to a life sentence with the possibility of parole because of the 15 Class A felony charges. Prosecutors also agreed to not seek consecutive sentencing on the charges, which added up to a potential sentence of 365 years and 30 days in prison.

Neither Kita nor the victims spoke at Friday’s brief sentencing hearing.

The victims, a then-19-year-old woman and her friend, a then-17-year-old girl, told police they were hiking Dec. 22, 2015, near Piihonua Bridge above Hilo town. They said Kita, a stranger to both, approached them and said there was a waterfall in the area, according to court documents.

The teens told police Kita then led them to a remote area where he brandished a knife, ordered them to disrobe, tied their hands behind their backs and forced both to perform various sex acts with him.

It is the Tribune-Herald’s policy to not identify victims of sexual assault or minor victims.

“We came to the plea agreement with the cooperation and consent of the victims to get them some measure of justice without them having to go through the risk of being re-victimized by a trial,” Deputy Prosecutor Evans Smith said after the hearing. “I want to note the extraordinary courage the victims displayed during this process.”

Smith said Kita’s actions forced the victims to “live through the type of nightmare that nobody should have to endure.”

Kita had been wanted for more than 4 1/2 years on unrelated felony marijuana cultivation charged when he was taken into custody the following afternoon near the Piihonua Bridge. According to documents, Kita originally told officers his name is “Joshua Kita” and said the silver 1991 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck he was driving — which was registered to Oran Kita — belonged to his cousin.

The marijuana case, which includes first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, a Class A felony, was also dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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According to police, officers who served a search warrant on Kita’s former home in Hawaiian Paradise Park confiscated 381 marijuana plants, 6.7 pounds of processed marijuana, 5.3 pounds of a “green leafy substance,” grow lights, a generator and “various other paraphernalia associated with marijuana cultivation” indoors.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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