HILO >> The trial for a Hawaii man charged with murder in the death of his son, who has been missing for nearly two decades, has been postponed until 2017.
Peter Kema Sr. had been scheduled to go on trial Monday, but a judge granted his request for a delay, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday. His new trial is set for Jan. 23, one week before his wife, Jaylin Kema, will go before a jury in the case.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of their son, Peter Kema Jr., known as “Peter Boy.” The child was 6 when he disappeared in 1997.
The boy’s parents had long been suspects in his disappearance before prosecutors said they finally had enough evidence to charge them in April.
Peter Kema Sr. had told authorities he took the child to Oahu and gave him to an “Aunty Rose Makuakane” in an informal adoption. Police could not find a woman as described by Kema or airline records indicating he had flown there from Hawaii island.
Jaylin Kema is also scheduled to have a separate trial for second-degree theft in a welfare fraud case on Jan. 23. Prosecutors say the alleged theft from May 2010 to July 2015 was uncovered because of the investigation into the boy’s death.
Peter Kema Sr. remains held in lieu of $500,000 bail, while his wife has an Oct. 6 hearing on her request to be freed on supervised release or have her bail reduced. She is being held in jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.