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Shooting victim describes ‘looking down barrel’

April 5, 2014 - 12:05am

A District Court judge ruled Friday the state had enough evidence to charge a Captain Cook woman with attempted murder and a long slate of related firearm and drug offenses, after her victim took to the stand and described the shooting that left him with a bullet lodged near his heart.

Randi-Keli Banagan, 22, appeared before Judge Andrew P. Wilson in the Kona District Court Friday morning on the 20-charge indictment. Wilson forwarded the case to 3rd Circuit Court, where Banagan is scheduled to appear next week.

For the first time, Jeffrey Keanaaina spoke publicly about the shooting. Wearing a dark blue button shirt and a tie, Keanaaina answered questions about the March 28 shooting, just a week prior to Friday’s hearing.

“She looked at me,” Keanaaina said, referring to Banagan. “We had previous problems before. She does not like me. She reached in the middle (of the car) and grabbed a gun.”

Keanaaina said he and Banagan had a heated exchange before she allegedly shot him with a rifle. Then he saw her “grin” and nod her head before she pulled the trigger.

“I can’t really remember what the words were said, but I remember the grin, the words and looking down the barrel,” he said. “I was looking down the barrel.”

After Banagan allegedly shot Keanaaina, he said she continued pointing the rifle at him, so he began running away, hiding behind a rock pile. Banagan drove away, probably less than two minutes later, Keanaaina said.

He said he didn’t look to see what Banagan was doing.

“I did not want to see,” he said. “I know her car was idling, which meant she still had the gun, so I ran.”

Keanaaina’s girlfriend, Natasha Boyd, who was with him at the time of the shooting on Waiono Ranch Road in Holualoa, gave a similar account. Boyd and Keanaaina were arguing that morning, Boyd said, in part because Boyd had spent a few hours with Banagan earlier Friday morning. Boyd said when she saw Banagan’s car approach them as they walked down the road, she knew trouble was likely to happen.

Boyd, under cross-examination by Dean Kauka, Banagan’s attorney, said Keanaaina and Banagan had exchanged several text messages early Friday morning. Boyd said she did not know what the messages said.

Police officers and detectives testified they found Banagan at her grandmother’s home on Captain Cook Road Saturday evening. Officers went to the house to find her, and saw her drive up in a white Honda sedan with three passengers. Banagan and the other women got out of the car, which police then impounded, along with a silver Acura Integra, which matched the description Keanaaina gave for Banagan’s car.

Inside the Honda, officers later found two .22-caliber rifles, both of which were loaded, and ammunition, as well as a glass pipe that tested “presumptive positive” for methamphetamine. In the Acura, officers found a shell casing in the back seat.

Kauka argued that Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kaua Jackson had not sufficiently shown probable cause to connect the guns, which were in the Honda’s back seat and trunk, with the shooting.

Wilson said Jackson did show probable cause for several of the charges, although her argument “barely met” that burden.

Banagan’s bail was maintained at $250,000.

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