KAILUA-KONA – The upcoming trial of a Kailua-Kona man accused of attempted murder of a Hawaii Police Department officer in what prosecutors have called a racially motivated attack earlier this year has been delayed.
Shannon Kaleolani Ke was set to stand trial starting Aug. 20 on charges of first-degree murder with the enhancement of a hate crime, disorderly conduct, two counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest in connection with a March 26 incident fronting Huggo’s On The Rocks in the Kailua Village area.
However, that’s been taken off the Kona Circuit Court calendar for now after Judge Robert D.S. Kim on Wednesday granted a defense motion to suspend proceedings in the case to allow for a mental health examination of Ke. Prosecutors did not object.
But, that was not before Kim pointed out to Datta that a motion for a 704, as it’s called, should be requested at “the earliest possible date,” according to court minutes, which also noted Kim was “not criticizing counsel.”
Ann Datta, Ke’s public defender, said in her motion to suspend proceedings for examination of her client that Ke has a history of mental health issues and has a variety of diagnoses, which were conveyed to Datta by Ke’s mother, and Ke has prior been committed to psychiatric institutions.
The panel comprising three doctors was ordered to submit findings on Ke to the court by Sept. 26. Kim will make a determination on Ke’s fitness to proceed with trial during a hearing slated Oct. 3.
Until then, proceedings in the case are suspended. If Ke is deemed fit by Kim in October, a new trial date will be set.
Ke, who’s entered not guilty pleas to the offenses, remains in custody in lieu of $322,000 bail.
According to police and prosecutors, Ke assaulted Hawaii Police Department Officer Randall Hancock on the shoreline fronting Huggo’s On The Rocks. Hancock and another officer had responded to the eatery around 5 p.m. to a report of a disorderly man.
While making contact with the man, identified as Ke, a confrontation ensued resulting in Hancock and Ke tumbling into the water where the altercation continued.
The officers were eventually able to take Ke into custody without further incident.
The officer allegedly assaulted by Ke was treated at Kona Community Hospital for contusions to his head and face as well as bruising to his legs. The hate crime enhancement was filed because Ke allegedly made disparaging comments about the officer’s believed race.
During the preliminary hearing that bound the case over to Kona Circuit Court, Hancock, testified that Ke called him a “F—king haole.” He also told the court he felt he was going to die while being held under the water by Ke.