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Trial delayed for woman accused of using hatchet in robbery

May 8, 2014 - 3:40pm

Delays in providing information to the Public Defender’s office didn’t amount to “bad faith” by Hawaii County police officers, a judge ruled Wednesday afternoon.

But the delays were enough for 3rd Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra to grant Public Defender Peter Bresciani’s motion to move back the trial date for Trinety Crapser, who is accused of robbing a woman on South Point Road in January.

Bresciani moved to have the case dismissed last month, arguing police weren’t sufficiently investigating a related burglary that might have provided evidence — a stolen 20-gauge shotgun — that might help support Crapser’s comments to police after she was arrested. Crapser claimed that her co-defendant, Kainoa Kahele-Bishop, had stolen the shotgun and threatened her with it, causing her to rob Trudi Grentz.

Crapser is accused of wielding a hatchet during the robbery, in which Crapser demanded possession of Grentz’s car. A struggle ensued, and Crapser allegedly bit Grentz and pulled her hair.

Several officers testified about a Jan. 28 burglary, during which a shotgun was stolen but not recovered.

“It strains credulity that nobody knows about this in a place like Ka‘u,” Bresciani said, referring to police officers who claimed they had not realized a shotgun matching Crapser’s description had been stolen a few days before Kahele-Bishop allegedly threatened her with it.

Two police reports were also initially unavailable for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to access, and several weeks after the deadline for the state to provide discovery — evidence and police reports used in criminal cases — to the defense, Bresciani was alerted to the possibility that fingerprints were taken but not yet identified from the burglary scene.

“It puts us in a position where it slows us down,” Bresciani said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kaua Jackson said expecting police officers to check every case file in their electronic records system daily, to check for updated information in potentially related cases, is an “impossible” task.

“The idea that the defense has is (Detective) Sean Smith had knowledge of this shotgun when he didn’t,” she added.

Multiple procedural aspects “just went awry” in the case, Jackson acknowledged.

Another detective told her Wednesday afternoon it would take about a month for the fingerprints to be processed.

Ibarra said he didn’t see evidence of “bad faith, nor a cover up.”

Given that the fingerprint evidence is still being investigated, he agreed to push the trial back to July 29. It had been scheduled for June 30.

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