A Maui man accused of second degree murder has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
John Joseph Smith, 58, of Makawao, entered a not guilty plea in Second Circuit Court Wednesday. The charges stem from an ongoing police investigation into the discovery by hunters on July 5, 2023, of a body wrapped in plastic in a remote area of Kula.
Police were called to a remote trail located off of Keanuhea Street in Kula regarding the discovery by hunters of possible human remains. The case was reclassified from an unattended death to a second degree murder investigation.
Maui police have since identified the deceased individual as Jonathan Awai, 36, of Makawao.
A jury trial is set for Nov. 27, 2023 and a bail hearing is set for tomorrow.
Two others were arrested and charged by police in connection with the case, but there is currently no court record on file for either as of today.