Man pleads no contest to 21 of 43 charges filed in connection with 2019 islandwide crime spree

  • Joshua Hams at his initial appearance in Kona District Court in August. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today file photo)

A Kailua-Kona man accused of an islandwide crime spree last August has pleaded no contest to 21 of the 43 charges filed against him.

Among the 43 counts faced by Joshua D. Hams were nine class A felonies, nine class B felonies, 20 class C felonies and five misdemeanors in connection with incidents on Aug. 21, 2019, that spanned from Hilo to Ka’u to Kona, ending in a standoff at a Holualoa home.

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On June 25, Hams pleaded no contest to four class A felonies, five class B felonies and 12 class C felonies in a plea deal meted with prosecutors. Sentencing is set for Aug. 24 before Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim.

His plea comprises three counts of first-degree robbery, one count carrying a firearm in commission of a separate felony, three counts ownership or possession prohibited, one count first-degree criminal property damage, seven counts second-degree criminal property damage, three counts first-degree terroristic threatening, one count unauthorized entry in dwelling and one count second-degree theft, according to court records.

The alleged islandwide crime spree began 9:20 a.m. Aug. 21, 2019, 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.

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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 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.

Hams remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

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