Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced that a Mountain View man, 25 year-old Cohlby R.K. Espaniola, was sentenced to a twenty-year prison term in Hilo Circuit Court for Assault in the First Degree and Robbery in the First Degree charges earlier this month. The charges stem from an October 14, 2018 incident at a residence on Leilani Street in Hilo, where a male party sustained multiple stab wounds.
On December 19, 2022, Espaniola pleaded “Guilty” to the offenses of Robbery in the First Degree and Assault in the First Degree. Robbery in the First Degree is a class A felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of a twenty-year prison term. Assault in the First Degree is a class B felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of a ten-year prison term.
On March 10, 2023, Espaniola, who remained out of custody for a majority of these criminal proceedings after posting bail, appeared in Hilo Circuit Court for his sentencing hearing. After being sentenced to a concurrent twenty-year prison term, Espaniola was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
The investigation was initiated by South Hilo Patrol and the felony investigation was led by Detective Kayne Keli‘i, Criminal Intelligence Unit, formerly of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Lee.
“Hawai‘i Island residents deserve to feel safe in their homes and community,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen. “Our Office will continue its ongoing efforts to hold violent offenders accountable for their actions. I’d also like to recognize the selfless actions of the community members who rendered aid to the victim and the hard work and diligence of the police officers who responded and investigated this case.”
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.