$10M bail set for islandwide crime spree suspect

  • Joshua Hams makes his initial appearance in Kona District Court two days after the alleged crime spree on Aug. 21. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A Circuit Court judge on Monday increased 10-fold the bail for a 48-year-old Kailua-Kona man accused of an islandwide crime spree in August.

Bail is now set at $10 million cash for Joshua Daniel Hams, who faces 43 counts including eight Class A felonies and nine Class B felonies in connection with incidents on Aug. 21 that spanned from Hilo to Ka‘u to Kona. Bail had been set at $1 million.

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Judge Robert D.S. Kim’s ruling to increase bail Monday followed a motion by prosecutors to set no bail for Hams, citing the defendant poses a “serious danger to the community” and the risks he will flee the island or engage in additional illegal activity.

Hams’ counsel, Deputy Public Defender Ann Datta, argued it would violate Hams’ rights to due process, as well as his right against excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment. She requested a reduction of bail or the imposition of electronic monitoring.

Also Monday, Kim suspended proceedings in the case pending a mental evaluation of Hams’ fitness and capacity to proceed at the request of Datta. A panel of three doctors will examine Hams and provide their reports to the court for Kim to rule on during a hearing set for December.

With the mental evaluation pending, a Jan. 7, 2020, trial date is off the calendar. If Kim rules Hams is fit to proceed, a new trial date will then be set.

Hams was charged Sept. 11 via a 43-count indictment in connection with the Aug. 21 crime spree that began in Hilo and ended with a standoff at a Holualoa home. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The indictment comprises seven counts second-degree criminal property damage; six counts carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony; six counts of ownership or possession prohibited; four counts first-degree terroristic threatening; three counts first-degree robbery; two counts carrying or possessing a loaded firearm on a public highway; two counts third-degree promoting a dangerous drug; two counts unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle; and one count each first-degree criminal property damage, second-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree reckless endangering, second-degree reckless endangering, second-degree unauthorized entry in a dwelling, second-degree theft, third-degree theft, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, first-degree resisting an order to stop, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to a vehicle or property.

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The alleged islandwide crime spree began 9:20 a.m. Aug. 21 in Hilo with a report of a “mentally unstable” man brandishing a shotgun that continued to Naalehu where the man, later identified as Hams, reportedly stole a state Highways Division vehicle and later robbed a Honaunau gas station at gunpoint.

Around noon, Hams allegedly fired shots in Kalaoa and then proceeded to the Kona Commons area where he reportedly shot out a door at the AT&T Store on and also stole merchandise. Upon fleeing, Hams reportedly hit multiple vehicles on Kuakini Highway, stole another vehicle at the Lako Street Shell gas station and eventually abandoned that vehicle and barricaded himself at a private residence in Holualoa before surrendering to police.

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