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Child allegedly starved: Parents, grandmother indicted in 2016 death of Hilo girl

A father, mother and maternal grandmother are in custody for allegedly starving a 9-year-old Hilo girl to death.

Police arrested 49-year-old Kevin P. Lehano, 33-year-old Tiffany Stone and 59-year-old Henrietta Stone at about 3 p.m. Friday afternoon for the death of the girl, identified only by her initials, S.A.L.-S., who was born in 2006. The three were arrested on a bench warrant after a Hilo grand jury indicted the trio Wednesday for second-degree murder.

“This is a rare case,” Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said early Friday evening. “We sealed the indictment until the warrant could be served and they were arrested, which happened this afternoon.”

Police and emergency medical personnel were summoned June 28, 2016, to a Kinoole Street apartment in Hilo for a report of an unresponsive child and found the girl, unconscious and apparently severely malnourished, lying on the floor.

The girl was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where she died a few hours later.

Roth said the indictment alleges murder by commission and omission and that Henrietta Stone was the legal guardian of the girl by a power of attorney granted by Family Court. He added that, according to the indictment, the child was denied adequate food, water and available and necessary medical care from “on or about Oct. 23, 2015” until her death June 28, 2016.

According to Roth, Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville took the state’s case before the grand jury and obtained the indictment. Damerville is the prosecutor in the cases of Peter Kema Sr. and Jaylin Kema, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the 1997 death of their chronically abused son, Peter Kema Jr., also known as “Peter Boy,” and Hyacinth Poouahi, a caregiver who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the extreme nonfatal abuse of a Puna girl in 2005.

“This is a real emotional roller coaster for anybody, including me,” said Damerville, who made similar statements about the Kema and Poouahi cases.

“They are, each of them, accused of murder in the second degree in various ways,” Damerville said, referring to Lehano and the Stones. “One is knowingly causing the death of another. The other method is voluntarily omitting to perform a duty imposed by law, which is a duty to support, to wit, failure to provide food and water, and duty to obtain reasonable and necessary medical services … and to do a duty when you a person are at the scene of a crime, including the perpetrator of that crime, when you know someone is suffering from serious harm … to obtain or try to obtain medical services or service from the police.”

Lehano is a former Hilo radio announcer who worked for KWXX-FM in the 1980s and ’90s using the air name “Kevin Lee.” According to court records, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault in Hilo Family Court in 2006 and ordered to undergo anger management treatment. He received a deferral of his no contest plea, which erased the conviction from the record in 2007.

Court records indicate Tiffany Stone pleaded no contest to misdemeanor terroristic threatening in 2005 and was sentenced to a year probation and 30 days in jail with 29 days suspended.

No prior criminal convictions could be found for Henrietta Stone.

All three defendants are being detained at the police cellblock in Hilo in lieu of $100,000 bail each, pending arraignments and pleas Monday in Hilo Circuit Court.

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

 

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