The parents of a Hawaii Island boy who went missing nearly 20 years ago pleaded not guilty to murder charges Friday afternoon.
Jaylin Kema and Peter Kema Sr. appeared in two different courtrooms, charged with murdering their son, Peter Kema Jr., also known as “Peter Boy.”
Peter Kema Sr. has a public defender while Jaylin Kema has a court-appointed attorney, Brian De Lima.
In court, De Lima said he had more than 4,000 pages of discovery to go through and wants to see what the police reports say.
“That caused the prosecutor’s office to decide in 2016 that it was appropriate to bring these charges. What new evidence do they have?” De Lima asked.
De Lima is also representing Jaylin Kema in an unrelated theft case. He said she has made all her court appearances and cooperated with his office, and expects she will continue to do so in the murder case.
“She’s a citizen with rights. She’s presumed to be innocent. That’s the most important thing that people need to know. She’s presumed to be innocent. Let the facts come out in a trial,” he said.
The Kemas were arrested separately Thursday afternoon.
“I was perhaps satisfied that justice was going to be done,” said Dennis Arakaki, a former state representative for 20 years.
Arakaki repeatedly asked the state to disclose information about Peter Boy’s case.
“Why was that so important to you?” KHON2 asked.
“Because I always felt they were hiding behind a cloak of confidentiality,” Arakaki said.
Documents were released in 2005 and included details of child abuse.
Arakaki said he’s pleasantly surprised that, nearly 20 years later, the Kemas are going to trial.
But the tragedy and memory of the little boy remain.
“The face that that they always showed. It’s so haunting from the very beginning. It was so haunting to see that face with those eyes,” Arakaki said.
Jaylin Kema’s theft trial will begin in July and murder trial in August. Peter Kema Sr.’s trial will begin in September.