Kurtistown man wanted on multiple sex assault charges in Pennsylvania

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Avery Sanchis, right, appears Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court with defense attorney Brian De Lima.

A 23-year-old Kurtistown man appeared Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court after being arrested Monday on an extradition complaint alleging he’s wanted in Pennsylvania on multiple counts of sexual assault.

Avery E.I. Sanchis is an amateur mixed martial artist and kickboxer, and has fought on cards in BJ Penn’s Just Scrap MMA promotion in Hilo and Pennsylvania’s Art of War Cage Fighting MMA promotion.

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Sanchis’ Facebook page says he is from Waimea, but he told a podcast interviewer in Pennsylvania that he grew up in Puna. The Facebook page also claims Sanchis went to the Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy and worked at Merriman’s Restaurant in Waimea.

Online records show Sanchis’ only previous encounters with the adult court system in Hawaii are a pair of speeding tickets, both in 2016.

The complaint filed by county prosecutors says Sanchis is wanted by the Susquehanna Regional Police Department for forcible rape and additional sexual assault offenses.

An affidavit by Hawaii Police Department Detective Aaron Carvalho and two exhibits — presumably the Pennsylvania warrant and associated documents — were sealed by the court and publicly unavailable.

Brian De Lima, Sanchis’ attorney, said the charges arose after a trip to Pennsylvania by his client to address family matters.

De Lima asked the judge for “adequate time to discuss a writ of habeas corpus” and “verified copies of the materials in this case from the state of Pennsylvania.”

In an extradition case, a writ of habeas corpus, according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, “can be used to examine any extradition processes used, the amount of bail and the jurisdiction of the court.” De Lima told Judge Henry Nakamoto a reasonable amount of time to file a writ would be 21 days.

“I would like to avail myself of an opportunity to look at what the charges are,” De Lima said. “To be frank, what we want to do is to have reasonable bail set.”

De Lima said Sanchis was contacted by a county police detective in November, and Hilo District Court Bruce Larson “issued a search warrant to obtain DNA from Mr. Sanchis.” Sanchis complied.

“We would like to work out a situation where Mr. Sanchis can jump on the plane and voluntarily return to Pennsylvania to answer these charges,” De Lima said. “But we want to do it in a fair way … because he cooperated with the DNA, met with the detective throughout the entire process.

“I anticipate, though — if he can make bail or he cannot make bail, either way — it’s likely after I review everything … more likely than not we’re going to resolve the matter.”

Deputy Prosecutor Winston Albright told Nakamoto that the Pennsylvania warrant was a no-bail warrant and requested the judge not set bail.

“This is a serious crime that’s alleged — three counts of what would be our equivalent of a Class A felony for rape of a minor … as it spells out in the arrest warrant, Your Honor,” Albright said. “And therefore, the state would ask that … the risk of flight and dangerousness to the community as the basis of the underlying warrant be respected, and it remain as such.”

Nakamoto indicated he was inclined to set bail, and Albright requested that “$100 million be set on each count.”

“A hundred million dollars?” Nakamoto asked in an even tone of voice.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Albright replied, “I note that —”

“A hundred million dollars?” Nakamoto interjected, deadpan.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Albright said again.

De Lima described it as “disingenuous” of Albright “to ask for $100 million.”

“I think high bail on a Class A felony is $20,000,” the defense lawyer told the judge. “So I think, you know, a cumulative amount of $60,000 to assure his appearance, given the history. His family’s here to support him.”

Albright disputed De Lima’s assertion that $20,000 is high bail for a Class A felony.

“So, I would just ask that bail be set at $1 million in the total for all charges,” he said.

Nakamoto set Sanchis’ bail at $100,000 and ordered him to return to court at 8:30 a.m. May 3.

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“I think that amount is sufficient to ensure that Mr. Sanchis will be answerable to this court and will appear on that date if he is to bail out,” the judge said.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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