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Roynes Dural

Other Hawaii Exonerations
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On July 13, 2001, a 14-year-old girl known as CW told her mother that she had been engaging in sexual intercourse with Roynes Dural, who was then 26. Dural was part of the girl’s extended family; at the time of the alleged offenses, he was married to the sister of CW’s stepfather and had later been involved in a relationship with CW’s mother in 1999 and early 2000, after separating from his wife.

Although CW would later testify that the sex was “consensual,” under Hawaii law, children under 14 weren’t able to give legal consent to a partner more than five years older. (The age was increased to 16 on July 10, 2001.) CW’s mother reported the sexual assault to the Honolulu police on July 14, 2001. The first detective declined to pursue Dural. A year later, Detective Sheryl Sunia took over the case, and Dural was indicted on December 19, 2002 for one count of first-degree sexual assault and four counts of third-degree sexual assault. The indictments covered a period between November 1998 and November 2000, when CW turned 14.

Dural was in the Navy. He was arrested on January 29, 2003, when his ship, the U.S.S. Port Royal, returned to Honolulu.

Dural’s trial took place in 2003, in Hawaii’s First Circuit Court in Honolulu, before Judge Karen S.S. Ahn.

CW testified that she and Dural had sex approximately 20 times before she turned 14, and that Dural had said he loved her. She said the last time they had sex was in June or July of 2001, just before she told her mother.

CW’s mother also testified. She said her daughter had come to her to talk about sex and pregnancy. After CW said she wasn’t a virgin anymore, the mother said she asked who CW had had sex with. The mother said she asked about the girl’s stepfather and boys her age. She said when she mentioned Dural’s name, CW said “Yes.”

CW’s stepfather also testified. He said that he had never seen CW and Dural having sex, but that he had seen them several times “sleeping together in a cuddled position” on the living-room couch. The stepfather said it made him uncomfortable, but he considered Dural a close friend.

Dural testified and denied that he ever had sexually assaulted CW. He said his deployment schedule would have made it impossible for him to be in Honolulu at many of the times the girl testified about. He said that CW’s mother was angry with him for breaking off their relationship and had induced her daughter to make the accusations against him.

Dural was convicted on August 4, 2003 on all five counts. The court sentenced him to 20 years in prison on the first-degree count, and to four five-year terms to run concurrently on the other convictions.

After Dural’s direct appeal was denied, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief based on newly discovered evidence on July 31, 2006.

Dural said he had learned that CW was in a sexual relationship with an older man named Chad Kalawaia at the time she made the accusations against him. Because the age of consent was raised in 2001, this relationship was also a sex crime until November 2002, when the girl turned 16. Kalawaia was a close friend of CW’s stepfather and a food-services employee at CW’s school. Dural said that Kalawaia had been allowed to marry CW shortly after Dural was convicted. The Circuit Court denied Dural’s petition because it said the new evidence was only offered for impeachment purposes and therefore didn’t meet the legal standard to warrant a new trial. Dural appealed, but the ruling was affirmed in 2008.

On May 1, 2009, Dural filed a second petition for post-conviction relief. He was now represented by attorneys with the Hawaii Innocence Project. The attorneys had gathered declarations from CW’s mother, her stepfather, and Kalawaia that appeared to support Dural’s claim that it was Kalawaia who was having sex with CW.

Shortly after Dural filed this motion, Detective Sunia called the mother and said that police were initiating a perjury investigation against her related to her declaration. No charges were brought.

At an evidentiary hearing, the mother, stepfather, and Kalawaia each said that the declarations that the Hawaii Innocence Project had prepared on their behalf contained substantial errors.

Their testimony, however, was more straightforward. Both the mother and stepfather testified that they had come home in July 2002 and found CW naked and Kalawaia wearing only a pair of shorts. The stepfather said Kalawaia approached him a week later to discuss the incident and said that he and CW had been in a relationship for “about two years.” The mother also recalled the incident. She testified that Kalawaia told her the relationship had begun in late December 2000, and that he and CW had first had sex in March of 2001. CW and Kalawaia were married in 2003, just before she turned 17, and they divorced in 2007.

CW also testified at the evidentiary hearing. She did not give a date for when she and Kalawaia first had sex, but she said there was no overlap between that relationship and the events she said occurred with Dural. But she also said she didn’t know when she and Kalawaia began having sex, and when asked if it could have begun in 2000, she said “I don’t know. I guess.” She said she was in a relationship with Kalawaia when she went to the police in July 2001, but prosecutors never asked her about other relationships, and she didn’t volunteer that information.

The evidentiary hearings ended on June 28, 2011. Both sides were given time to prepare closing arguments. Separately, Dural had a hearing before the Hawaii Paroling Authority on October 5, 2011. He was granted parole and released on December 1, 2011.

As part of Dural’s submission for parole, CW’s mother wrote to the parole board to say that Dural had been wrongfully convicted. She wrote that her daughter “has admitted that that it was NOT Dural but (Kalawaia) that she was having a sexual relationship with.”

In a deposition taken after the letter to the parole board, the mother also said that part of her testimony had been false. She originally testified that her daughter had verbally acknowledged having sex with Dural. In fact, she now said, her daughter had said nothing, but just grew quiet, which the mother took for affirmation.

Dural’s attorneys moved to supplement the record in their post-conviction petition with this information and a new statement from the stepfather. He also said his testimony was false – or at least misleading – when he was asked whether CW had other partners besides Dural. He had said she didn’t, but by the time of the trial, the stepfather said he was aware of CW’s relationship with Kalawaia. Prior to trial, he said, he had asked a deputy prosecuting attorney about this issue. The prosecutor told him to leave it out because the relationship was said to have begun after the events with Dural and that it wouldn’t help the case. “This was misleading now that time and other critical information has been brought forward,” the stepfather wrote. In addition, the stepfather also said, “I to (sic) had an inappropriate relationship” with CW “that was sexual in nature.” He said he kept quiet out of fear of being prosecuted. Neither Kalawaia nor the stepfather was never charged.

The Circuit Court held a hearing on March 25, 2013, and then denied Dural’s motion to supplement the record. On August 29, 2013, the court denied Dural’s motion for post-conviction relief, finding that there was no evidence that CW and Kalawaia were having sex during the period when CW said she was having sex with Dural.

Dural appealed, and the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals granted his motion for a new trial on February 27, 2018. It said that the statements by Kalawaia, the mother, and the stepfather about CW’s relationship with Kalawaia did more than impeach CW’s testimony; they also provided a powerful motive for the girl to falsely accuse Dural. “Without the newly discovered evidence, Dural was not able to present a coherent theory or plausible explanation of why the CW, his niece by marriage with whom he ostensibly had a good relationship, would falsely accuse him of sexual assault.”

The court also noted the need for CW to conceal the relationship with Kalawaia. When CW’s parents found them in a state of undress in the summer of 2002, CW was below the new age of consent, and Kalawaia was committing a sex crime.

The state appealed, but the Hawaii Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s ruling. Prosecutors initially said they would seek a new trial, but on November 27, 2019, less than a week before the trial was to start, they filed a motion to dismiss the charges. Judge Karen Nakasone dismissed the charges on Dec. 3, 2019. She said: “This case has had a long, tortuous 17-year history. The defendant has been incarcerated for eight years, eight years of parole, not to mention the humiliation and the suffering and the economic and personal losses resulting from the case going through the system.”

Dural’s attorneys said they planned to file papers to get Dural’s Naval discharge changed from less than honorable to honorable.

Dural told Hawaii News Now in September 2019 that prosecutors had offered him a deal in 2010. He could be paroled immediately if he would plead guilty to a lesser charge and admit his guilt. He turned it down and served another year. “It was worth the wait,” he said, “I had family members who said, say anything to get out we want you home, and I said I can’t do that.”

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 12/16/2019
State:Hawaii
County:Honolulu
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:Child Sex Abuse
Reported Crime Date:2000
Convicted:2003
Exonerated:2019
Sentence:20 years
Race/Ethnicity:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No