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A domestic abuse victim won't be charged for killing her boyfriend

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 13:39:45-04

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death in Nanakuli over the weekend is now out of jail.

Prosecutors would not say why they dropped the murder charge against Berlyn Paonessa-Kerston, but court records suggest she had been locked in an abusive relationship.

Paonessa-Kerston lived with her boyfriend Chazin Mahuka, 31, off Mokiawe Street in Nanakuli. On Sunday, she was arrested for second-degree murder but authorities declined the case on Tuesday.

Mahuka’s family members did not want to be interviewed, but many of them were not surprised that the charges were dismissed and some said they understood.

Court documents show Mahuka had a criminal history with a record of violence. He was set to stand trial next week for abuse against Paonessa-Kerston.

A previous abuse case was dropped because the victim did not want to testify and he served time behind bars after pleading guilty to an abuse charge in 2007.

The Domestic Violence Action Center offers services to women like Paonessa-Kerston who are trapped in abusive relationships. CEO Nanci Kreidman said prosecutors did the right thing.

“She is going to live a haunted experience in a variety of ways. Not only fearing retaliation, but she has to live with the knowledge that she killed somebody and that’s very, very hard,” said Kreidman.

The deadly dispute happened the same day a woman in Salt Lake was stabbed multiple times by her boyfriend who then died after jumping from the building.

The medical examiner identified him as Xandro Pillorato, 36, who’s record includes a TRO violation conviction and a dismissed abuse charge.

“One weekend, two deaths, two men dying. This is a serious crime, this is a serious problem and we cannot turn away from it,” Kreidman said.

Family members of Mahuka said he was the son of Gavalynn Mahuka, 53, who was shot and killed by police in an hours-long standoff in July. The scene of Sunday’s deadly incident was just down the road.

“I’m so sorry that she has had to suffer her own victimization and the consequences of his victimization and we are here to support her in any way she needs…and other victims of domestic violence who might be seeing this incident and thinking, wow, that could have been me,” Kreidman said.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. On Thursday, there will be a Men’s March Against Violence at the State Capitol. And on Wednesday, a community candlelight vigil honoring the lives lost from domestic violence will be held on Maui.

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