Hawaiian musician says she was abused in prison after wrongful conviction

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — A Hawaiian musician says a case of mistaken identity wrongly landed her in jail for drug-related offenses and she is now trying to clear her name.

Dione Tamure is her stage name. His real name is Dione Kaeo-Tomaselli.

And she was charged with meth trafficking in 2007.

Honolulu undercover cops say a man named “Alfredo” offered them drugs in Waikiki.

According to court records, they allowed this man to use the officer’s cell phone to call a woman, who brought them methamphetamine.

A few days later, Tamure was arrested.

Tamure handed over her phone records to show police that no one had called her at the time officers said she was contacted to bring drugs. The officer’s cell phone, which was used to make this call, was mysteriously lost and the recordings were also lost.

There were no video or audio recordings of the drug case. The trial ended with her word against the officers and she was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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Tamure said she was sent to Halawa Correctional Center, a male-only prison.

She said she was born intersex and her first week in prison she was sexually assaulted.

State Department of Public Safety records show that an investigation proved Akuila Tuamoheloa was the assailant. He was already a convicted sex offender.

Tamure recounts some of the attack and the injuries she suffered, including a head injury.

“The bunk beds are metal, as he forces himself inside me he hits me at the same time and that’s because I’m trying to scream,” Tamure said.

After serving his sentence, Tuamoheloa was deported to Tonga.

Tamure was transferred to Kailua Women’s Community Correctional Center and then sent to a women’s prison on the mainland. She has served her sentence but now wants to be cleared of the crime.

Tamure, a singer and songwriter, has recently released two albums and is recording more songs.

But she cannot travel to Japan to perform due to her conviction. The Hawaii Innocence Project is working with her, trying to have the conviction overturned so she can have a new trial.

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Program director Ken Lawson believes a transgender woman who is about the same height as Tamure and who lived in the Waikiki apartment complex next door was actually the woman who participated in the drug deal. The woman cannot be sued because the statute of limitations has passed.

Lawson said University of Hawaii law students working for the Innocence Project have narrowed the list of witnesses they need and expect to file a motion for a new trial by the summer.

“This accusation has devastated my life. It took me a long time,” Tamure said.

In prison, she wrote two dozen songs.

One of them is called “Fly Beautiful Birds”, which hasn’t been released yet.

“When I was in solitary confinement, I saved my bread,” Tamure said, and fed the birds.

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