The family of Florence Puana, whose videotaped testimony in federal court helped convict her granddaughter and Honolulu’s former police chief before her death, has decided to hold a private memorial service for Puana because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The family did not say when the private service will be held.
In a statement, Puana’s family said today:
“At the direction of the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, and after careful consideration, and with heavy hearts, the Puana ohana has decided to hold a private family memorial service for our beloved mother Florence Puana. Although it saddens us to exclude those who befriended and loved her through the years, we feel it our duty to act in a responsible manner due to the current situation relating to the world’s coronavirus problem in order (to)protect and help keep our community safe. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date in the future. Florence would want all of us to remember, just because we are keeping our distance physically, does not be mean we no longer share our ALOHA with each other. Use good judgment, follow all recommended guidelines, take care of each other, and most of all God Bless.”
Puana died on Feb. 13 at the age of 100.
She was a great-great-great-grandmother with an eighth grade education from Makawao, Maui, who trusted her granddaughter — former deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha — to take control of her finances to help orchestrate a reverse mortgage that ended up being bogus.
Because she was 99 years old at the time of the federal trial of former police chief Louis Kealoha and Katherine Kealoha, federal prosecutors wanted to videotape Puana’s testimony on April 30 so it could be heard before jurors.
The Kealohas’ trial in U.S. District Court ended in June with them being found guilty of scheming to frame Puana’s son, Gerard Puana, stealing the Kealohas’ mailbox and lying to investigators to cover up their actions. Also convicted were Honolulu Police Department Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn and HPD officer Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen.
The Kealohas each faced 20 years in prison when they were scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Tuesday. But on the eve of their sentencing, federal court also shut down because of coronavirus pandemic.
No date has been scheduled for their sentencing.