Man connected to 2019 Utah killing arrested in Hawaii

One of six people named as suspected in the 2019 shooting death of Kathryn Blaire Leavitt has been arrested in Maui.

One of six people named as suspected in the 2019 shooting death of Kathryn Blaire Leavitt has been arrested in Maui. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A second person has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a woman in Salt Lake City in 2019.

Katoa Pahulu, 26, surrendered to officers from the Maui Police Department last week after learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest in connection with the killing of 27-year-old Kathryn Blaire Leavitt, Salt Lake City police announced Thursday.

Pahulu was one of six people named as suspects in Leavitt's death by police during a press conference in February. The arrest warrant and charging documents for Pahulu were filed in 3rd District Court but have been sealed, according to police. It was unknown Thursday what charge or charges Pahulu was arrested on or what his alleged role was in Leavitt's death.

He is the second person arrested and charged in the investigation. In February, Lachelle Fiefia, 36, of West Jordan, was charged with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

On July 27, 2019, police received a call of a door being kicked in at an apartment at 1211 N. Redwood Road and a possible burglary in progress. But while officers were en route, they were told that shots had been fired. They arrived to discover that Leavitt had been shot as another woman hid in a closet in another room. Leavitt died from her injuries at a local hospital. An autopsy determined that Leavitt had been shot twice.

Fiefia allegedly drove Pahulu and another man to the Oakland, California, the day after the shooting, according to court documents. Fiefia was interviewed by police on Nov. 18, 2020. During that interview, she told detectives that as the group was driving, both men made statements such as, "I can't believe he did that" while also commenting on the way Leavitt "dropped" when she was shot, the charging documents say.

On Feb. 15, Leavitt's mother, Marie Leavitt, made an emotional plea to the public for someone to come forward with information that could help tie the case together for police.

"I implore you to do the right thing if you know anything about this case. I ask of you, please, do the right thing," she pleaded.

Salt Lake police are now working to have Pahulu extradited back to Utah.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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