Charges dropped for now in case tied to standoff
WAILUKU – A man facing attempted murder charges stemming from a standoff with police nearly three years ago in a Kahului neighborhood had attempted murder charges dismissed Monday in another case involving a Waiehu shooting.
A trial in that case for Josiah Okudara, 25, had been set for Monday in 2nd Circuit Court.
But Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani asked Monday that the case be dismissed without prejudice, in part so the prosecution can proceed with the case against Okudara involving the standoff.
Tani said Okudara was recently indicted on 17 charges, including 11 counts of first-degree attempted murder, in the 50-hour standoff that ended Aug. 12, 2011, when he walked out of a residence on Opukea Street. Police allege that shots were fired from the home toward police Special Response Team members who had surrounded the residence.
Police had gone to the home looking for Okudara, who was wanted on a warrant in connection with the July 24, 2010, shooting in a Waiehu neighborhood. In that case, police said a 30-year-old man was shot in the thigh when shots were fired at five passengers in a vehicle.
Before the charges were dismissed Monday, Okudara had pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree attempted murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the Waiehu case.
Defense attorney David Sereno, representing Okudara, asked that the charges be dismissed with prejudice so that they can’t be brought again. Sereno cited the age of the case, as well as testimony in court last month that none of the evidence collected in the police investigation had been sent out for testing.
Tani said another reason the prosecution sought the dismissal was “the availability and the cooperation of the witnesses.”
Over defense objections, Judge Rhonda Loo granted the dismissal without prejudice, meaning Okudara could be charged again. She cited the seriousness of the offenses.
An Aug. 4 trial is set for Okudara and co-defendant Erath Kaihewalu, 21, of Wailuku in the standoff case.
Kaihewalu had been living at the rental residence where Okudara was found and voluntarily left the home the day before Okudara surrendered, police said. Two women and a child also voluntarily left the house before the standoff ended.
Both Kaihewalu and Okudara are being held without bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
In a separate case, Kaihewalu is charged with first-degree methamphetamine trafficking, second- and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail is set at $200,000 in that case.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.