KEALAKEKUA — A Hilo man and woman have entered not guilty pleas in a reported robbery in the Puako area last month.
Aaron Melim, 34, and Rhyan Rickman, 27, appeared in 3rd Circuit Court on Wednesday where each pleaded not guilty and demanded a jury trial, which was scheduled for June 4.
Melim faces charges of second-degree robbery, accomplice to unauthorized entry into a vehicle and second-degree assault. Rickman was charged with robbery, accomplice to second-degree robbery, accomplice to second-degree assault and accomplice to unauthorized entry into a vehicle.
The charges stem from a reported robbery that occurred on Jan. 7 near Puako Boat Ramp in South Kohala. A third suspect in the case is still at large.
Melim and Rickman were located in the Papaikou area on Jan. 10 and charged the following day after a search warrant on the vehicle they were found in revealed stolen property from the alleged victim.
The pair are being held at Hawaii Community Correctional Center on $9,000 bail each. Third Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim ordered updated bail studies for Melim and Rickman, who are to be returned to the court in 10 days.
A preliminary hearing occurred for the two defendants on Jan. 15 and continued to Jan. 29 at the South Kohala District courthouse. During the first day of the hearing, the victim took the stand, recounting the incident, telling the court he’d went to meet with Rickman, a friend who asked for gas money. But when they arrived at an empty lot near the boat ramp, two men got out of the backseat of Rickman’s car.
The victim testified he was assaulted and “left for dead” by two men and a woman. During the incident, the victim’s car was entered and items were removed, including a Vans backpack, CD deck, work belt and a cellphone.
The victim was ultimately hospitalized at North Hawaii Community Hospital where he learned he suffered a fractured bone above his right eye and a laceration on the head.
The victim retook the stand on Jan. 29 where he testified he ended up being hospitalized for two and a half days. He also described to the court having to crawl out to the road to get help after the alleged beating.