Charges filed after University of Washington shooting outside Milo Yiannopoulos event

by: Casey McNerthney Updated:

The wife of a man originally suspected in a January 20 shooting at the University of Washington campus was charged with felony assault Monday.

Prosecutors say Elizabeth Joy Hokoana, 29, and her husband, Marc K. Hokoana “created a situation designed to allow Elizabeth Hokoana to shoot the victim in the middle of an extremely crowded event under the guise of defending herself or her husband.”


QUICK FACTS

- Shooting happened at 8:26 p.m. Jan. 20 in Red Square at the UW campus

- Hundreds protested Milo Yiannopoulos and the inauguration of President Donald Trump

- Yiannopoulos supporters disagreed with protesters

- Marc Hokoana was originally described as the suspect

- He and his wife went to UW police saying the shooting was in self-defense


“The degree of planning involved in this crime demonstrates the danger that these defendants present to the community,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa wrote in charging documents.

The victim, Joshua Dukes, 34, was shot once in the abdomen outside Kane Hall, where controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos was speaking. That also was the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and UW’s Red Square had several hundred people protesting Trump and Yiannopoulos.

Yiannopoulos, a provocative British media personality, worked for Brietbart at the time, but resigned after a video clip surfaced in which Yiannopoulos said sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adults can be perfectly consensual.

“The evidence will show that these defendants took a gun into a volatile protest in Red Square, and that Marc Hokoana engaged in several provocative acts, including using pepper spray on the crowd,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said in a statement. “The crowd reacted predictably to being pepper sprayed, but the evidence will show that at the time Elizabeth Hokoana fired her pistol that her husband was not in imminent danger.”

Marc Hokoana was charged with third-degree assault for his role in the incident. His wife, who goes by Lily, was charged with first-degree assault with a firearm enhancement, which can bring a longer sentence.

“We have provided the police and the prosecution evidence showing that our clients acted lawfully in defense of others,” Steven M. Wells, an attorney for Lily Hokoana, and Kim Gordon, an attorney for Marc Hokoana, said in a written statement. “The accuser, Joshua Dukes, has repeatedly stated that he does not want this to go through the criminal justice system. We are disappointed that the prosecution has decided otherwise.”

The attorneys said they “look forward to presenting our case to a jury and we anticipate an acquittal.”

“Cooperation from witnesses, including several people sending us video of the incident contributed to our detectives determining what happened,” University of Washington Police Chief John Vinson said in a statement.

Both defendants are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. arraignment on May 8 in King County Superior courtroom 1201. 

Dukes released this statement through his attorney, Sarah Lippek:

Today, the office of the King County Prosecutor filed criminal charges against Elizabeth Hokoana and Marc Hokoana for violence they committed, including shooting Joshua Dukes and nearly taking his life. 
Being shot was devastating for Mr. Dukes, his family, and his community. The Hokoanas harmed many people by their violent actions. Mr. Dukes hopes that the defendants will  take accountability for shooting him, for taking guns and other weapons into already unstable circumstances, and for their involvement in escalating violence in the situation. It is crucial for the Hokoanas to understand the damage they caused, in order to reach accountability and resolution for this violence. 
Restorative Justice is a process that allows a dialogue between those who have caused harm and those who have been harmed. Together, they identify how accountability can be reached, and they take steps to repair the harm. The process is not a substitute for accountability, but a tool to reach it. 
A criminal prosecution does not usually allow for this kind of interaction between victims and defendants. Mr. Dukes  that the Hokoanas will choose to engage with him during the prosecution,  with the cooperation of defense attorneys and the prosecutor’s office, or after the conclusion of the trial. 
The punitive nature of the criminal justice system rarely affords an opportunity for true redress, and incarceration rarely leads to self-examination or healing for the effects of violence. Mr. Dukes hopes that engaging in a restorative justice process could allow mutual recognition of humanity and true accountability.