Suspect in fatal shooting found fit for trial


A 44-year-old Nanawale Estates man accused of shooting his neighbor to death in May has been found fit to stand trial.

Three mental health professionals, state Department of Health psychologist Thomas Cunningham and psychiatrists Henry Yang and Alex Bisset examined Seon Keoni Aki and found he was capable of understanding the charges against him and assisting in his own defense.

Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara ordered Aki to appear for trial at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 27.

Aki pleaded not guilty Oct. 2 to charges stemming from the May 20 fatal shooting of his neighbor, 40-year-old Mateo D. Balinbin Jr., at Balinbin’s Maui Street home. Police say Balinbin, aka “Braddah Boy,” died from a single gunshot to the head.

A six-count indictment dated Sept. 26 charged Aki with second-degree murder, terroristic threatening, use of a firearm in a felony, illegal place to keep pistol and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The terroristic threatening charge is because Aki allegedly chased a neighbor, Don Sambrana, out of Balinbin’s house while brandishing a black semi-automatic pistol. According to court documents, Sambrana told police he was in the same room when the shooting occurred but didn’t see the shot being fired.

In addition to being a convicted felon, Aki is a registered sex offender. He was charged with first-degree sex assault in 2001, but in a deal with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to third-degree sex assault on Jan, 29, 2003, and was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served and 10 years probation, according to court records.

In addition to sex offender registration, Aki was ordered to seek both psychosexual and anger-management treatment.

On Jan. 19, 2007, Aki was found to have violated his probation, and Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura reset the clock on his 10-year probationary term.

Aki remains in custody in Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $360,000 bail.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.