Bail reduced in 2018 murder case

  • Kuuipo and Ashley Nihipali

A Kona Circuit Court judge recently cut in half bail for one of two Puna women accused of murder in the 2018 death of a 6-year-old boy at a Kealakehe apartment complex.

Kuuipo Nihipali is now being held in lieu of $500,000 bail after Judge Robert D.S. Kim ruled Thursday to reduce her bail following a motion by Deputy Public Defender Ann Datta seeking her client’s be granted supervised release or a reduction in bail. The state opposed the motion. Prosecutors sought to have both Kuuipo Nihipali and her co-defendant Ashley Nihipali be held without bail pending trial. Ashley Nihipali’s bail remains set at $1 million after Kim denied the motion.

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Both women remain confined at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Jury trial is scheduled to begin July 7 for the two defendants accused of the death of 6-year-old Mazen Kaniela Nihipali-Moniz on Halloween 2018 and abusing him and his siblings for months prior at the Lailani Apartment complex in Kealakehe.

Kuuipo Nihipali is charged with one count second-degree murder; one count second-degree murder as principal and/or accomplice; six counts second-degree felony abuse of a family or household member as principal and/or accomplice; first-degree hindering prosecution as principal and/or accomplice; tampering with evidence as principal and/or accomplice; and two counts first-degree terroristic threatening as principal and/or accomplice, according to an indictment handed down July 31.

Ashley Nihipali is facing one count second-degree murder as principal and/or accomplice; six counts second-degree felony abuse of a family or household member as principal and/or accomplice; first-degree hindering prosecution as principal and/or accomplice; tampering with evidence as principal and/or accomplice; and two counts first-degree terroristic threatening as principal and/or accomplice, according to the indictment.

Each pleaded not guilty to all of the charges following their indictment in early August.

Nihipali-Moniz was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31, 2018, after being taken by medics from the Kailua Fire Station to Kona Community Hospital. The 6-year-old was brought unconscious by a family member to the station.

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Police said the child was reportedly involved in an “incident” and been found unconscious at the Lailani Apartment complex on Manawalea Street.

The child’s death was ruled a homicide after autopsy results revealed the cause of death involved trauma.

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