USP Lee inmate starts petition to gain freedom

A Hawaiin man serving a life sentence without parole at USP Lee has taken to social media in an attempt to gain his freedom via a pardon from President Barack Obama. Ethan Keliihoomalu “Malu” Motta, 47, was incarcerated for a violent underworld clash on Oahu over control of illegal gambling that left two men dead of gunshot wounds and another man critically injured. He was convicted in 2009 on two counts of committing murder in support of criminal racketeering, which carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole, after a monthlong jury trial in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

As of midday Saturday, 777 people had signed an online petition at titled “Clemency Consideration for Malu Motta.” The petition, which was posted Sept. 22, is designed to be shared on Facebook.

He and two accomplices shot and killed two men in January of 2004, during a meeting between rival underworld factions in the parking lot of the Pali Golf Course.

Some who signed the petition say they don't agree with media accounts of Motta as a statewide crime boss and murderer, comparing him instead to Robin Hood.

In addition, Motta filed an appeal in June in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A previous appeal was denied in 2013.


Hawaii Tribune Herald

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