Another botched transport: Kailua-Kona man charged with attempted murder not released by HCCC for hearing

  • Officers take Shannon Ke into police custody March 26 on the shoreline fronting Huggo's On The Rocks in Kailua Village. (Image capture from video/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • Officers try to take Shannon Ke into police custody March 26 on the shoreline fronting Huggo's On The Rocks in Kailua Village. (Image capture from video/Special to West Hawaii Today) (Image capture from video/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • Shannon Ke

KEALAKEKUA — A preliminary hearing was rescheduled after a Kailua-Kona man, accused of assaulting a police officer, was not transported by deputies from the Hilo jail to the Kona courthouse.

On Monday afternoon, the deputy prosecutor, public defender and witnesses were present at court for the commencement of the 1:30 p.m. hearing of Shannon Ke, charged with attempted murder with the enhancement of a possible hate crime after an altercation with Hawaii Police on March 26 in Kailua Village.

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The hearing convened as scheduled where Deputy Public Defender Ann Datta told Kona District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga that her client had not been brought out from jail and requested he be released as probable cause had not been established within the 48 hours of his “warrantless arrest” last week.

Deputy Prosecutor Chase Murray asked the court that Ke remain in custody and requested the preliminary hearing be rescheduled, arguing it was his understanding of the law the prosecution has 48 hours to bring probable cause within the 31-year-old’s initial appearance, which was Friday.

Masunaga asked counselors why Ke had not been brought out.

“I spoke to the jail and they said they didn’t have him on the transport list,” Datta relayed.

Masunaga’s clerk chimed in confirming the court faxed Monday’s court calendar to HCCC on Friday and it was successfully received at 1:01 p.m.

The judge remarked this isn’t the first time this has happened and instructed Murray to get in touch with HCCC’s Warden Peter Cabreros to get an explanation for the missed transport.

The preliminary hearing was rescheduled for this morning.

Ke has been charged with disorderly conduct, two counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest as well as attempted first-degree murder in connection with the encounter.

According to police, Ke assaulted a Hawaii Police officer on the shoreline fronting Huggo’s On The Rocks in Kailua Village. Two officers had responded to the eatery around 5 p.m. on a report of a disorderly man.

A video submitted to West Hawaii Today by a reader shows Ke dunk an officer completely under the water and take a swing at his head as a second officer runs into the ocean to break up the altercation.

The officers were eventually able to take Ke into custody without further incident.

Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Lawson explained all of Ke’s felony charges had the included enhanced language that the defendant is subject to sentencing as a hate crime offender.

Lawson said Ke allegedly made disparaging comments about the officer’s perceived race.

“There were statements made and actions taken that appeared to be racially motivated,” Lawson added. “That is why it was charged.”

The enhanced language of the felony charges allows for an extended term of imprisonment.

The officer assaulted by Ke was treated at Kona Community Hospital for contusions to his head and face as well as bruising to his legs, Police Spokesman Alan Richmond said Friday.

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This is the 11th time in 16 months HCCC failed to transport an inmate for a scheduled court hearing. In January, the Department of Public Safety reported from January 2018 to January 2019 there were 10 instances where inmates refused to appear in court or could not appear due to extenuating circumstances.

Among those not transported was Brian Lee Smith, a pretrial murder suspect who was not transported to Kealakekua for a scheduled four-hour December hearing to discuss several pretrial motions.