Screenshot 2023 11 23 At 9.58.24 AM

Crips duo sentenced to life imprisonment for fatal Ōtāhuhu shooting of father, Alec Moala

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The 9-year-old daughter of man who was pummelled by shotgun pellets wants to ask the two Crips gang members found guilty of murdering her father: “why did you kill my daddy”.

Alec Moala, who was a member of a different subset of the Crips, was shot dead on Beatty St in south Auckland’s Ōtāhuhu in May 2021.

His wife told the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday she hopes to one day find peace and forgiveness.

Back in May 2021, Methuselah Talakai was angry about a failed drug deal and slapped a woman. Hours later, the woman’s cousin, Moala, was fatally shot.

Sosaia Vaitohi was the shooter, while Talakai was the getaway driver. Both are members of the 36 Crips.

Both men were found guilty of murder and on Tuesday were sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Sally Fitzgerald.

Talakai will have to spend at least 13 years and 6 months’ behind bars while Vaitohi will spend 13 years and 7 motnhs’ before both are able to apply for parole.

At one point during the sentencing, Vaitohi was banging a chair in the dock and was repeatedly asked to stop by Justice Fitzgerald as well as his mother who was in court supporting him.

He also said “that’s bullshit” a number of times while Justice Fitzgerald detailed what happened in May 2021.

The court heard at trial while Vaitohi was giving evidence, despite swearing to tell the truth, he refused to answer questions because of “gang code”.

Justice Fitzgerald found this was an act of contempt of court.

“You did not have a reasonable excuse to not answer the questions…gang code does not override the principles of law,” the judge said.

Back in May 2021, Moala’s cousin Chanelle Mafileo had been texting Talakai, asking if he had any drugs to sell to a friend.

He turned up to her home on Beatty St on May 22, only to find out that Mafileo had found another supplier.

Things began to escalate, Talakai was angry about having his time wasted, he demanded money from Mafileo and slapped her face.

As soon as Talakai left, Mafileo called on her cousin, worried.

Later that evening, Mafileo and Talakai began communicating and tensions also rose between Talakai and Moala.

At about 2.10am on May 23, Talakai and Vaitohi arrived at Mafileo’s home in a black Honda Jazz.

Vaitohi got out of the passenger seat armed with a shotgun.

With Moala and Mafileo sitting on a bench outside having a smoke, Vaitohi fired at least three shots.

At least one struck Moala in the chest with the pellets spraying him in the face, legs, arms and neck. This was the fatal shot.

He was then shot a second time, in the back.

Prosecutor Chris Howard said the shot to the back was callous.

Vaitohi got back in the Honda Jazz and Talakai drove away.

When Vaitohi was arrested on May 27, he told police he shot Moala.

On Tuesday, Moala’s wife, told the court the pair had been together for 16 years when her life changed forever.

“You will never know the pain you caused my children and they will have to live and grow up without their father because of your actions.”

Moala’s wife said she has to sit and comfort her children, with her daughter asking “why did you kill my daddy?”

Vaitohi’s lawyer, Anoushka Bloem, submitted her client had grown up with violence, a gang environment, family dysfunction, had limited education and had been institutionalised both in state care and now in the prison environment.

Justice Fitzgerald found there was a link between Vaitohi’s offending and his upbringing and gave an 8-month discount for this.

Julie-Anne Kincade KC asked Justice Fitzgerald for Talakai to be given the opportunity to start rehabilitation programmes in prison soon, rather than towards the end of his sentence.

Justice Fitzgerald detailed how Talakai, unlike a lot of offenders, had a loving, stable upbringing with supportive, but strict parents. Despite having troubles when he moved from the United States to New Zealand.

It was in 2010 when he was first sentenced to a term of imprisonment, Talakai came into contact with the Crips and methamphetamine.

Should Talaki take the opportunities provided to him in prison, there was scope for him to eventually be released as a contributing member of society, Justice Fitzgerald said.