Crime spree suspect ruled fit

  • Joshua D. Hams appears in Kona Circuit Court on Thursday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A new trial date has been set for a Kailua-Kona man accused of an islandwide crime spree in August after a Kona Circuit Court judge deemed the 48-year-old fit to proceed in the case.

Joshua Daniel Hams was ruled fit to proceed by Judge Robert D.S. Kim Thursday following review of reports submitted by psychologist Frederic Manke and psychiatrists Henry Yang and Andrew Bisset. Jury trial is now set for March 10 before Kim.

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Proceedings were suspended Oct. 14 for the mental evaluation of Hams’s fitness and capacity to proceed at the request of Deputy Public Defender Ann Datta. Neither Datta nor Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kauanoe Jackson contested the findings during Thursday’s hearing.

Hams 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, ending in a standoff at a Holualoa home. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

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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The indictment comprises seven counts of second-degree criminal property damage; six counts of 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 of 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.

Hams remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $10 million cash bail. Bail had been set at $1 million; however, Kim upped the amount in mid-October after prosecutors sought to have him held without bail. The judge cited the defendant posed a “serious danger to the community and was a flight risk or would engage in additional illegal activity in making his decision to increase 10-fold Hams’s bail.

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