Man pleads not guilty in death of Longs manager

WAILUKU – An April 1 trial is set in 2nd Circuit Court for a Kihei man charged with manslaughter in the death of a Longs Drug Store manager who was trying to stop a shoplifting.

Peter Schmidt, 29, pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and first-degree robbery during his arraignment Thursday.

Bail remained at $50,000 for Schmidt, who is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center. Defense attorney Cary Virtue said Schmidt didn’t want an assessment prepared for a bail hearing.

During testimony at a preliminary hearing last month, Schmidt was identified as the shoplifter who walked out of the Kihei Longs store without paying for a 30-pack of beer at about 5:30 a.m. Dec. 23. Jamie Hozaki, the store manager, and another employee followed Schmidt outside, where Schmidt got into the driver’s seat of a white Ford sedan.

Hozaki had opened the driver’s door and asked Schmidt to return the beer when Schmidt suddenly reversed out of the parking stall, throwing Hozaki to the ground, according to testimony.

An employee said Schmidt had been repeatedly told while inside the store that he couldn’t buy alcohol until after 6 a.m. under Hawaii law.

After being admitted to Maui Memorial Medical Center with a severe brain injury, Hozaki was pronounced dead Dec. 28. He was 61 years old.

Police arrested Schmidt the day after the incident in Kihei.

Judge Joseph Cardoza ordered that previous court orders continue.

Deputy Prosecutor Kenton Werk said Schmidt previously had been ordered not to return to any Longs location on Maui and to have no contact with any Longs employee. Schmidt was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and, if released from jail, to report for random drug testing.

In a separate Family Court case, Schmidt is charged with abuse by refusing to comply with a 24-hour warning citation to stay away from his residence on Aliilani Place after a report that he had physically abused his girlfriend.

According to court records, police issued the citation at about 2 p.m. Dec. 23 after investigating the incident of physical force. His girlfriend reported no pain or injury.

Schmidt initialed a form indicating that he understood he was not to initiate contact with his girlfriend and was told he wasn’t to return to the residence until the warning citation expired the next afternoon, according to police. He was seen leaving the property on foot.

At 10:45 a.m. Dec. 24, Detective Jeffrey Mahoney saw Schmidt leaving the Aliilani Place residence “in direct violation of the 24-hour warning citation,” according to court records. Mahoney followed Schmidt to a parking lot of a business on Huku Lii Place, where he was arrested for the abuse charge.

When Schmidt was arraigned on the charge Dec. 26, he was referred to the Maui Intake Service Center for preparation of a bail study. But on Dec. 27, “he indicated that he wanted to consult with his attorney before deciding to participate in a bail study,” according to court records.

A March 4 trial is scheduled for Schmidt on the abuse charge.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at