Kahaluu shooting suspect pleads not guilty to murder

Samuela Mataele
Samuela Mataele

An 18-year-old accused of murdering his uncle has pleaded not guilty. He made his plea via video conference from Oahu Community Correctional Center on Thursday, July 24.

Samuela Mataele is accused of shooting 66-year-old Siosiua Liavaa in the head Sunday in Kahaluu. Liavaa was taken to a hospital where he died.

Samuela was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree terroristic threatening and a firearm violation.

According to court documents, Mataele’s brother, Leeland Mataele, heard a gunshot and saw Samuela holding a rifle about 10 feet away. When Leeland asked what he was doing, Samuela said “I’m going to kill you.”

Leeland said while Samuela was in the process of reloading the rifle, he ran away, and as he left, he saw his uncle, Liavaa, who appeared to have been shot in the head.

Mataele’s older brother, Jay Mataele, says while he did not witness what happened, Samuela has a history of mental instability.

“I think Sam was diagnosed when he was about 16, so he was diagnosed schizophrenic,” Jay said. “It’s a double tragedy. We’re doing everything we can to cooperate with authorities.”

Samuela was captured after a seven-hour manhunt. According to court documents, officers found plastic bags during a pat down containing what appeared to be marijuana.

He remains in custody with bail set at $250,000.

His trial is scheduled for September.

kahaluu crime scene

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