The two defendants in the Jan. 20 UW shooting pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in the King County Courthouse.
Elizabeth and Marc Hokoana had their bails initially set at $50,000 each before the figure was reduced to $10,000 because neither of them have a criminal history, they’re unlikely to flee, and neither are receiving any income. Marc Hokoana was a pre-med student at the UW, but both the Hokoanas are banned from campus. Elizabeth Hokoana has since been put on unpaid leave.
The defendants waived their right to a speedy trial and neither pleaded guilty. Both are sticking to self-defense claims.
Steven Wells, one of the defense attorneys, painted his narrative by calling Joshua Dukes, the man shot, an accuser. It was also argued in their presentation that the scene on Red Square on Jan. 20 was enough to make the Hokoanas scared, citing Molotov cocktails. There were no Molotov cocktails thrown that night, according to the UWPD report.
“There’s a lot of things not in the police report,” Wells responded to that.
“If it was such a thing, it would be in the police report,” UWPD Major Steve Rittereiser said. “That was the first time I’ve heard that, but it’s not unusual to hear those types of things said as speculation in a case.”
In addition, the defense pointed to a radio announcement by an EMT saying that Dukes had a knife on him and brass knuckles. However, this was also not mentioned in the police report. Rittereiser and the prosecuting attorney could neither confirm nor deny any such evidence being processed.
“[Dukes] was obviously at the scene, and there was some basic treatment going on at the scene, and that would require removal of clothing,” Rittereiser said. “We would likely collect that kind of stuff at the scene or, if not, somewhere down the road [like at the hospital].”
The defense attorney did not cite any such material being in evidence, only that it appeared in the EMT’s report.
Wells also claimed that Dukes had Facebook posts of his own that show premeditated violence, but has since deleted his Facebook account. The latter is false. Wells stated that he submitted the posts into evidence to the prosecuting attorney and The Daily is waiting to see if a records requests for those items will be granted. In addition, there is only one search warrant of many that is currently open to the public.
To prove that the Hokoanas aren’t a danger to society, which also determines bail, many friends and family were present, and had sent in letters. Marc Hokoana’s parents were there, holding hands, clearly worried.
One of the letters sent in to demonstrate the Hokoanas’ characters was from Marc Hokoana’s niece. She expressed Marc Hokoana’s love and care before, through, and after her gender transition.
Dukes was not present for the hearing. He still wants to push for restorative justice, and feels very conflicted about the criminal prosecution of the Hokoanas because he believes the justice system doesn’t help anyone. Dukes also feels this case could set a bad precedent.
“I also think it’s important to listen to them,” Dukes said. “It’s important to make space so they can speak honestly and openly. This isn’t just about teaching them why they’re wrong … I know what it’s like to feel like the only thing you can do is set yourself on fire on the capitol steps. As much as they are trying to fight right now, deep down they need compassion … I want to hear them tell me why.”
Dukes wants the Hokoanas to be held accountable for what happened, and what led up to the shooting, but he insists that jail time is not the way to do it.
Reach reporter Kelsey Hamlin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ItsKelseyHamlin