Police arrest suspect in Monday Puna shooting


One man is dead and another in police custody after a shooting Monday afternoon in lower Puna.

At about 2:19 p.m. Monday, police officers and Fire Department medics responded to a report of a shooting victim found inside a Maui Street home in Nanawale Estates. They found the body of 40-year-old Mateo D. Balinbin Jr., who lived in the home, inside.

Detectives learned that another man was seen leaving the residence in a dark colored pickup truck and, as a result, police issued an islandwide all-points bulletin for both the truck and its operator, who was identified as a suspect.

Police say they received a tip that led to the arrest of 43-year-old Seon Keoni Aki at a home on Lemiwai Road in Hawaiian Paradise Park. He was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder. As of press time on Tuesday, Aki, who owns and lives in the home next door to the victim, had not been charged as detectives continued to investigate.

“I know they went way back and what not, but I don’t know what the hell was going on between them,” said an individual acquainted with both men, who asked not to be identified. “They definitely knew each other.”

Officers had secured the scene, and the road in front of the house was blocked off with yellow barricade tape on Tuesday.

According to court records, Aki is a convicted felon and a registered sex offender. He was charged with first-degree sex assault in 2001.

In a deal with prosecutors, Aki pleaded guilty to third-degree sex assault Jan. 29, 2003, and was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served and 10 years probation. 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 be noncompliant with terms of his probation and Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura restarted the clock on his 10-year probationary term.

Court records indicate nine convictions for Balinbin, but none for felonies. He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse on May 14, 2003, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years probation.

Balinbin’s autopsy, originally planned for Tuesday, has been rescheduled for today.

Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting is asked to contact Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380 or dmorimoto@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386 or ralmeida@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

The subdivision has a violent past, and Monday’s shooting is the second homicide there in less than six months.

On Dec. 16, 54-year-old James V. Johns was bludgeoned to death in a tool shed on his Seaview Road property. Jason Russell Jump, a tenant of Johns was charged with second-degree murder, but in March was found unfit for trial.

Nanawale was also the site of the Feb. 25, 2007, shotgun slaying of 21-year-old Tyrone Torres. Torres’ friend, Malaki McBride, then 17, was tried as an adult for allegedly shooting Torres after he discovered Torres having sex with McBride’s girlfriend in a car at the end of a secluded cul-de-sac.

McBride was sentenced to life plus 20 years in 2010 for the homicide plus use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and auto theft.

The state Intermediate Court of Appeals overturned McBride’s murder conviction last November, ruling that the judge’s oral instructions to the jury on the extreme mental or emotional disturbance defense differed from the agreed-upon written instructions.

A new murder trial is set for Nov. 4 at 8:30 a.m. for McBride, who is still incarcerated for auto theft.