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Sister of accused takes stand in attempted murder case

Updated: 
April 4, 2014 - 12:05am

The older sister of a Hilo man accused of shooting two police officers early last year said she told police her brother was staying at her house.

Maile Martin testified Thursday she “absolutely urged” her brother, Keaka Martin, to turn himself in. He’s charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the shootings of Hilo patrol officers Garrett Hatada and Joshua Gouveia on the night of Jan. 2, 2013, in the parking lot of the Pono Place on Kilauea Avenue.

Hatada and Gouveia both suffered wounds to their lower extremities but have since returned to duty. Both have testified in the trial.

“I thought my brother had been involved in the shooting,” Maile Martin said, explaining why she had called police Detective Grant Todd on Jan. 3, 2013, left a message, then called again about 10 minutes later.

“I didn’t want to lose my nerve to do the right thing, what I thought was the right thing.”

Maile Martin said that she was contacted by Detective Brandon Konanui and provided him information that her brother was at her East Palai Street home. She drew police a diagram of the house and told them that she had a roommate and her nephew was also staying there.

“Detective Konanui was trying to reassure me that if I cooperated with them, that they would (attempt not to) hurt him,” she explained.

She said her brother, 32, denied shooting the two officers. Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata objected and moved to strike the statement, and 3rd Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura upheld her objection.

Maile Martin said she was at the Hilo police station when the police Special Response Team — the department’s SWAT unit — was dispatched, and she heard what followed on police radio.

“They said that a gunshot has been fired and as soon as I heard that over the dispatch radio, I looked at Detective Konanui in disgust and grief. And he said, ‘We’re not sure of what happened yet.’ And that there was an ambulance there.”

She said she learned her brother was still alive the following day. He’d been taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition with what police said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Police said a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol was recovered in the home next to Keaka Martin. Maile Martin said she didn’t know her brother had a gun.

If convicted of first-degree attempted murder, Martin faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.