A judge has delayed the trial of a Hawaii man charged with killing his son nearly 20 years after the boy disappeared.
The trial of Peter Kema Sr. was originally set to begin Monday but has been rescheduled for April 25. Kema is charged with murder in the 1997 death of then-6-year-old “Peter Boy” Kema.
A Hilo Circuit Court judge granted a request from Kema’s attorney to postpone the trial to allow them time to prepare for the testimony of Kema’s wife, Jaylin, who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case. As part of a plea deal, she agreed to testify against Kema at his trial.
“Right now we’re ready for trial and we’d rather have it sooner than later. We’ll take the date that we got and that’s all I can say about that,” said Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ricky Damerville.
Damerville previously said Jaylin Kema agreed in court to facts he laid out about abuse the boy suffered, her failure to get him medical treatment and his eventual death.
Jaylin Kema’s plea agreement in December confirmed Peter Boy’s death nearly two decades after the child went missing.
His body still has not been found.
“I’m always hopeful we’re going to find Peter Jr.,” Damerville said. “Personally, I don’t think this is the kind of case where we’re never going to find the boy. I hope not.”
Peter Kema told investigators in 1997 he took his son 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 the Big Island.