2 suspects accused in beating death of man, 49, plead not guilty

Two men accused in the beating death of a 49-year-old man pleaded not guilty to murder charges at Circuit Court.

Nicholas Payne, 36, and Chu Lun Aiona, 39, appeared at their arraignment before Judge Colette Garibaldi via closed-circuit video link from the Oahu Community Correctional Center Thursday on charges of second-degree murder in the death of Joey Nguyen.

Deputy Public Defender Henry Ting entered a not-guilty plea to the charge on Payne’s behalf and Aiona’s attorney, Jason Burks, entered a not-guilty plea to the charge on Aiona’s behalf.

Garibaldi confirmed their bail at $1 million each and set their trial for November.

A witness told police two men later identified as Payne and Aiona punched and kicked Nguyen repeatedly in the face and body in an abandoned building during the early morning hours of Aug. 28.

That morning, Nguyen was found unconscious at approximately 4:15 a.m. at a bus stop near the defunct Stats Sports Bar at 1687 Kapiolani Blvd..

Emergency Medical Services treated and transported him to Straub Medical Center where he died of blunt force head injury.

Aiona turned himself in to police at the Honolulu Police Department headquarters the next day.

Police arrested Payne on Aug. 31 after a witness identified him in a photographic lineup.

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