Suspect in deadly shooting looks to withdraw guilty plea

Local News

Nearly eight years after their son was gunned down outside their home, the Botelho family is still looking for closure.

In 2011, Makuola Collins shot and killed 27-year-old Joel Botelho.

Collins was found guilty of murder that year, but the case had to be retried.

He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to serve a 25-year minimum sentence.

Now, Collins has filed a petition to withdraw that plea, claiming ineffective counsel. He also says he’s no longer under the jurisdiction of the U.S. judicial system because he’s a sovereign citizen of the Native Hawaiian kingdom.

“This is a travesty to Native Hawaiians and a travesty of justice,” said Botelho’s mother, Nonohe. “We felt then that there was some kind of pono and closure between us, and then six months after the hearing, we get this 400-page document that he wants to withdraw his plea. So it’s not right. Being sovereign is not a reason to withdraw your plea and get out of jail.”

Botelho’s father, Chris, says he feels a “sense of betrayal, because we truly felt that it was genuine, his asking for forgiveness, his admission of guilt, the families wanting to come together and put this thing behind us as best we can and move forward.”

The Hawaii Paroling Authority has scheduled a hearing on Oct. 30 to consider Collins’ request.

The Botelhos plan to testify against it.

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