Editor’s note: This story contains graphic content.
A registered sex offender accused of abducting an underage girl at knifepoint in downtown Hilo, taking her back to his Haili Street apartment and forcing her to perform a sex act, will be bound over for possible trial.
Hilo District Judge Diana Van De Car on Thursday ordered 54-year-old Lawrence “Larry” Abiley to appear before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara for arraignment and plea at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 18. Abiley is charged with kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening and third-degree sexual assault. The kidnapping charge carries a possible 20-year prison term upon conviction, while the other two charges are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
A 17-year-old girl testified at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday and Thursday that she met Abiley early Saturday morning by the Kress Cinemas in downtown Hilo. She said that after she refused to go to his apartment, he pulled out a knife.
The Tribune-Herald is not identifying the girl, as she is a minor and an alleged sex assault victim.
As she had on Wednesday, the teen looked downward and spoke softly, at times almost inaudibly, as Abiley’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa, concluded his cross examination.
The girl had testified that she had been kicked out of the Wainaku home where her sister and cousin live earlier in the evening, but denied having told Abiley that.
“Isn’t it true … that you told him that you had nowhere to go?” Ebesugawa asked.
“No,” the teen replied.
Ebesugawa also questioned why the girl didn’t scream for help when she was allegedly accosted at knifepoint.
“You testified that the knife was in touching distance at that time, didn’t you?” he queried.
“Yes,” the youth answered.
“… You didn’t say stop. Isn’t that true?” Ebesugawa said, more a statement than a question. “You did not push Mr. Abiley away. Is that right? Is that your testimony?”
“No,” she said.
“No, you did nothing. Is that true?”
“Yeah, I did not do anything.”
Ebesugawa also noted the locked gate of the apartment complex where Abiley lives across from the downtown Hilo McDonald’s, and questioned whether Abiley could unlock and open the gate with his left hand with the girl in front of him as he held a knife to her back with his right hand, as she had testified.
“You could still feel the knife, the tip of his knife in your back?” he asked, rhetorically.
The girl testified that Abiley had forced her to touch his privates while he continued to hold the red-handled pocket knife at her neck, and that after he was finished, he wiped himself before going to shower.
“He wiped himself with what?” Ebesugawa asked.
“I don’t know what it was,” she replied.
“Was it clothing?”
“I don’t know.”
“What color? Was it cloth, was it a towel, napkin? Do you know?”
“It was red,” she said.
The only other witness was police Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia, who said that the girl identified Abiley from a photographic lineup. He added that he and Detective Dean Uyetake executed a search warrant on Abiley’s studio apartment.
“We located a red shirt that had white stains on the shirt. We were not able to locate a knife,” he said.
Amuimuia testified that Abiley denied having a knife or threatening the girl, with or without one, and also denied abducting the girl.
“He said that because she didn’t have a place to stay he invited her to stay with him. Isn’t that true?” Ebesugawa asked.
“… He did tell you, in fact, that they did have a sexual incident in his apartment. Isn’t that true?”
“And isn’t it true that he said at no time, no time, did he hold her or restrain her from doing whatever she wanted?”
In his closing argument, Ebesugawa asked the court to dismiss the charges, calling it “a matter of credibility.”
“We are submitting that (the girl) is not to be believed by the court,” he said. “We have two opposing statements made. We would submit that based upon that, the court ought not to find that the state has met its burden of showing that there is a strong suspicion that Mr. Abiley committed the offenses as charged.”
Van De Car found “a showing of probable cause in all three offenses charged.”
Abiley remains in custody in lieu of $70,000 bail at Hilo Community Correctional Center.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.