Makaha Victim's Family Angered By Suspect's Release

Published On: Aug 30 2011 05:40:54 AM HST   Updated On: Aug 30 2011 09:04:23 PM HST

Roadside memorials now sit where Justin Willingham, 22, was killed Sunday night.

Willingham died when he was hit by a car that veered off of Farrington Highway in Makaha, police said.

Police arrested Valentine Keola Mahuiki, 20, Sunday night, but released him the next day.

"I'm trying to find out how somebody that killed somebody is allowed to go home and sleep in their own bed while my nephew is laying in a morgue,? said Willingham?s uncle, James Hendrix.

Both Hendrix and Willingham?s mother, Shelly Willingham, said they are angry about Mahuiki?s release.

"My nephew gets killed by a drunk driver that didn't even have a license. Then he gets released less than 24 hours from the time of the incident. He's a danger to society. If he did it once, it'll happen again,? Hendrix said.

Honolulu police said Mahuiki is free, but still faces charges that include negligent homicide, driving without a license and driving under the influence.

The charging criteria in such traffic cases are set by the city prosecutor's office and they largely depend on the suspect?s background, police said. In this case -- Mahuiki has no record.

Hendrix is having a tough time accepting that.

?There's witnesses that seen what happened, they gave reports of what happened, that seen the gentleman flee the scene over onto the beach," Hendrix said.

The prosecutor's office said it has not yet received the report from the Honolulu Police Department, which is still investigating the case.

HPD said traffic investigations can sometimes be lengthy, depending on the complexity of the case.


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