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Man charged with killing cellmate appears in District Court

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 3:52 p.m. HST, Mar 12, 2013

The 32-year-old prison detainee charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of another inmate at Oahu Community Correctional Center will be arraigned Thursday afternoon in District Court.

Joseph Tui Jr. tried to address District Circuit Judge Leslie Hayashi several times during this morning’s brief court appearance, but was cut off.

Tui, dressed in light blue prison coveralls with his right hand bandaged, seemed to want to confess to sexually attacking an inmate but also said, “I’m not homosexual. I’m not gay. I want to tell the truth.”

Tui was charged Monday with killing a 76-year-old cellmate, identified in court documents as Cyril Chung, also known as Cyrl Chung.

The Medical Examiner's Office said the victim died of head injuries caused by “blunt force trauma.” The death was ruled a homicide.

Hayashi continued Tui’s bail at $250,000.

At the time of incident, Tui was being held on a third-degree assault charge.

Chung also had been waiting for two years to go to trial for second-degree robbery.

The fight took place at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The state Department of Public Safety is investigating the cause of the fight, which happened during a shift change.

The two were housed in a holding unit for inmates who have misbehaved. They were sharing a cell because the facility is overcrowded, said Ted Sakai, director of public safety.

Tui was moved to the holding unit Thursday for threatening a staff member. The older inmate was in the unit for cigarette possession. He died at 4:12 p.m. Saturday after being taken to the hospital with head injuries.

Tui has a long record of convictions starting in 2000 for theft, burglary, escape, misdemeanor sex assault and harassment.

Four years ago he was assaulted by three adult corrections officer at Halawa Correctional Facility. The attack, caught on surveillance tape, led to the dismissal of the three guards.

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