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HONOLULU (AP) — The 21-year-old man accused of killing an Oahu woman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder but court documents said he admitted choking the victim and led authorities to her body.

Suspect Kaniala Avilla-Rapoza had known the 19-year-old victim, Nelibeth Albert, for years, said Avilla Rapoza’s lawyer, Myles Breiner.

“They were very close to each other,” Breiner said.

Avilla-Rapoza and Albert were high school classmates and he told police he had been in a relationship with her for two months, the court documents said.

The documents also said Avilla-Rapoza appeared to become jealous after someone else expressed interest in Albert.

He told police the two met May 15 at Wahiawa Freshwater State Park, where he became angry and choked her, the documents said.

While his hands were around Albert’s neck, she told him “you won’t get to see me if you do this,” the documents said.

Avilla-Rapoza was arrested May 18, three days after Albert was reported missing.

He led police to the victim’s body, hidden under several branches that he said he had placed there, according to the documents.

Breiner said his client has autism and expressed concern that he is being held in a Hawaii Police Department cellblock and not at the Hawaii State Hospital, a forensic psychiatric facility.


Information from: KGMB-TV,