KAILUA-KONA >> A man killed by Big Island police after shooting and killing an officer had a loyal group of friends who helped him elude capture for three days, prosecutors said.
Three of those people are on trial together, accused of aiding Justin Waiki. Police say Waiki killed Officer Bronson Kaliloa during a traffic stop last year in Puna. Police tracked him down three days later, and he was killed in a shootout with officers.
Testimony in the trial is revealing communications between Krystle Ferreira, Malia Lajala and Jorge Pagan-Torres, West Hawaii Today reported . They are charged with hindering prosecution and attempted murder.
Police extracted communications from the phone of Jamie Jason, a fourth alleged accomplice being tried separately. Text messages from Lajala to Jason described driving “all over” in a friend’s SUV. Jason also received a message from Lajala warning of a roadblock “with SWAT and everything,” a detective testified.
Photos taken from Jason’s phone a few hours before Waiki was shot and killed shows Jason and Pagan-Torres in a selfie. Another photo shows Waiki, Lajala and Jason smiling in the backseat of a SUV.
Attorneys for the defendants dispute they helped Waiki.
Defense attorneys for Ferreira and Pagan-Torres say they were not previously connected to Waiki and were scared. Lajala’s defense attorney says she was working to get Waiki to turn himself in.
As of Friday, 45 witnesses, including police officers and an FBI agent have testified in the trial that began last month. The trial continues Tuesday.