University of Hawaii football player Kennedy Tulimasealii today pleaded no contest to six criminal charges.
Circuit Court Judge Christine Kuriyama scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 24, during which she would rule on Tulimasealii’s request for a deferral. A deferral would give Tulimasealii an opportunity to avoid conviction and have the charges cleared from his criminal record if he stays out of trouble for a specified period of time.
On June 8, Tulimasealii, 21, had pleaded not guilty to six charges stemming from four incidents involving his 20-year-old former girlfriend. He was charged with damaging a car in late February, property damage on March 1, assault on April 11, and assault, resisting arrest and harassment on April 12. The property damage charge is a Class C felony because it involves costs exceeding $1,500. The assault and resisting arrest charges are misdemeanors. The other two charges are petty misdemeanors.
Tulimasealii decided to change his pleas to no contest despite not reaching an agreement with the prosecutor.
“There’s no sense in prolonging this for him and the young lady,” said his attorney, Michael Green. “He just wants closure for himself and for her. He’s not admitting or denying anything. We just want to get past this.”
Green said Tulimasealii is deserving of a deferral.
“He’s never been convicted of a thing in his life,” Green said.
Deputy Prosecutor Moanikea Crowell said the prosecution “will certainly be objecting” to a deferral. She said the prosecution’s recommendation will come after Tulimasealii’s pre-sentencing assessment.
Because the February/March and April charges were not consolidated, Tulimasealii needs to receive an exemption for the deferral to include all six charges. A deferral is a one-time grant.
“We’re going to deal with that,” Green said.
Tulimasealii has been on suspension from football-related activities since his arrest on April 12. He has remained on scholarship, and has been allowed to attend classes and study hall. He is enrolled in UH’s summer session, and also is attending anger-management classes.
Tulimasealii is expected to miss UH’s season-opener on Aug. 27 in Australia. The Warriors depart on Aug. 20, four days ahead of his sentencing hearing.