KEALAKEKUA — An 18-year-old man made his initial court appearance Monday on charges he sexually assaulted a 78-year-old woman at a South Kohala campground.
Hawaii Island police charged Zeth Browder, of no permanent address, with 15 charges stemming from an attack that occurred Saturday at Spencer Beach Park in Kawaihae.
His bail was set at $227,000.
According to police, South Kohala patrol officers responded to a call for service around 6 a.m. Saturday at the campground where they contacted a 78-year-old Pahoa woman who reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a man who was also camping in the area. The parties were not camping together.
Police located and arrested Browder and transported him to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Division continued their investigation.
On Sunday morning, investigators charged Browder with five counts first-degree sexual assault; three counts first-degree terroristic threatening; three counts third-degree sexual assault; burglary, assault, kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence.
On Monday, Browder appeared before Kona District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga for his initial appearance. Deputy Public Defender Ann Datta argued for reduced bail based on Browder’s indigent status but Masunaga maintained Browder’s bail at $227,000.
Datta then requested a mental competency exam for her client, which was granted.
Browder’s next court appearance is set for July 16 in South Kohala.
Anyone with information regarding the incident should contact Detective Calvin Delaries at (808) 326-4646, ext. 304, or via email at email@example.com.