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Cellmate arrested in beating death of OCCC inmate

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:47 p.m. HST, Mar 10, 2013

<br />Cindy ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com<br />A new study found that overcrowding is a serious -- but fixable -- problem in Hawaii prisons. The report said inmates spend much more time in jail than their mainland counterparts. At Oahu Community Correctional Center, adult corrections officers David Moku and Larry Visitacion peer into a holding cell.<br />

An Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate died and his cellmate was arrested on suspicion of murder Saturday afternoon after a fight broke out between the two men, police said.

Joseph Tui Jr., 32, allegedly assaulted his 76-year-old cellmate in a holding unit cell around 2:05 p.m. Saturday. He was in OCCC for third-degree assault.

Police said the older inmate suffered extensive head injuries and went to the hospital around 3 p.m. He died at 4:12 p.m., police said. 

Officials have not released his name, but said he was awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree robbery.

A Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said Tui was also taken to the hospital with injuries to his right wrist and left knee.

Ted Sakai, director of public safety, said today the two inmates were in the holding unit for misconduct while jailed and were sharing a cell because of overcrowding at the facility.

“We have 36 cells in the holding unit, with two of them are out of commission because it’s a very old unit, and yesterday we had 49 inmates who needed to be separated (from general population), so a number of cells had to be doubled up,” he said at a news conference. “Ideally, there would be one per cell, but we simply do not have enough cell space at this facility for that.”

Sakai said staffing was not an issue in the unit and a preliminary report by the Department of Public Safety Internal Affairs found that corrections officers followed procedures correctly. 

Police and Internal Affairs officers continue to investigate the incident.






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