Bail reduced for kidnapping suspect

WAILUKU — A judge reduced bail to $50,000 Thursday for a Lahaina woman charged in the robbery and kidnapping of a California couple last month at Nakalele Point.

Ashley Ramos, 19, had asked for even lower bail for what defense attorney Chris Dunn described as her “accomplice-type role.”

Police said that the visiting couple were confronted at gunpoint by Ramos and co-defendant Phillip Rosenthal, 37, at about 6:50 p.m. March 15 when the California residents returned to their rental car after a marriage proposal near the ocean at the remote location. The tourists’ belongings, including a $7,500 diamond engagement ring, were stolen before Rosenthal forced the man into an older-model sport utility vehicle, police said.

Ramos drove the woman in the rental car, with both vehicles heading south on Honoapiilani Highway before ending up at the Kehalani Longs Drug Store in Wailuku at about 10 p.m., police said.

Surveillance video showed Ramos in the store with the couple, who bought $1,300 in cash cards that they turned over to the robbers, police said. After being released with their rental car, the couple drove back to the Kaanapali hotel where they were staying and reported what happened, police said.

Ramos and Rosenthal each have pleaded not guilty to two counts each of first-degree robbery, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening and theft of a credit card, as well as unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and three counts of second-degree theft.

Bail had been set at $100,000 for Ramos.

Dunn asked for a “significant bail reduction” to $10,000, saying it would be enough to ensure that she appeared for court dates and “would reflect her real role.”

“This is a person who has no prior record, who has lived on Maui her entire life,” he said. “She’s got a lot of local family here.”

Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa opposed any reduction in Ramos’ bail.

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said he would consider further reducing Ramos’ bail if there were a plan “where this defendant is going to be in a safer environment.”

He said that, in a report prepared for the bail hearing, her mother reported Ramos “only goes home when she’s in need of a shower.”

“To send her back, it just concerns me,” Cahill said. “If that changes and there’s going to be some stability, I would consider a further reduction.”

Ramos reported wanting “treatment for peer pressure,” he said.

“I’m not sure any such treatment exists,” Cahill said. “It’s pretty clear at least where Ms. Ramos believes her problems lie.”

If she posts bail to be released from the Maui Community Correctional Center, Ramos was ordered to report for supervision. She also was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and not to be with people using those substances.

While Ramos said she wasn’t using illegal drugs, “the people she’s hanging out with may be,” Cahill said.

Ramos was ordered to have no contact with Rosenthal.

His bail was set at $500,000 in the case. Rosenthal also is serving the unexpired portion of a 20-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping in a 2001 case. He was arrested for violating his parole in that case.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at