Makawao man gets 18 months in jail for robbery in plea deal

WAILUKU — A man was sentenced Thursday to an 18-month jail term for robbery and dragging a woman who was trying to stop him from stealing her car.

Daniel Kekiwi, 21, of Makawao also was placed on four years’ probation as part of his sentence for robbery and other crimes.

In addition to second-degree robbery, Kekiwi had pleaded no contest to two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, six counts of theft of a credit card, two counts of third-degree theft and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

The crimes occurred from June 16, 2016, when Kekiwi was found with methamphetamine in his car and a “very large amount of freshly harvested marijuana,” said Deputy Prosecutor Johann Smith.

Five months later, when Kekiwi was arrested on a warrant, he again was found with methamphethamine in his car, Smith said.

He said that, in January, Kekiwi stole a truck containing tools from the Paia municipal parking lot and drove it on Jan. 13 to a Haiku residence that he burglarized. When the resident arrived home and encountered Kekiwi, he told her to call 911 and said someone had stolen his car, Smith said.

He said the woman thought Kekiwi was the victim. When she had her back turned, Kekiwi got in her car and began reversing, Smith said.

He said the woman grabbed the steering wheel to try to stop Kekiwi. “He drags her down the street for 30 feet,” Smith said.

He said the woman suffered scrapes on her arms and elbows.

“Luckily, she was not seriously injured,” Smith said. “It was a dangerous scenario, and these were dangerous choices he was making.”

In court Thursday, Kekiwi asked for a chance to get treatment so he could “be there for my kids.”

As part of a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution, Kekiwi could be released from jail after six months to enter a long-term residential drug treatment program.

“It’s pretty clear that drugs were behind all of this,” Smith said. “The state was wanting to give him an opportunity to get into residential treatment, to try to make a change in his life and get it under control.”

Deputy Public Defender Jasmine King said Kekiwi was days away from having spent six months in jail and could enter a drug treatment program next week.

Smith said Kekiwi needed more treatment than was being offered by the program he was accepted into.

“I don’t think that’s going to cut it in this case,” Smith said. “The defendant has a serious drug problem, and he needs longer treatment. It would be better for him and the people of this community to get a real long-term program.

“The drugs drove him to commit robbery. The community’s going to keep getting victimized unless he gets his problem under control.”

King said that, depending on Kekiwi’s progress, he could be in residential treatment for up to 90 days in the program.

In following the plea agreement to sentence Kekiwi, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza said the defendant had a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get this right.”

Cardoza asked attorneys to do research on long-term residential treatment programs before Kekiwi would be released to enter treatment.

Kekiwi was ordered to pay $2,125 in restitution for tools stolen with the pickup truck and to have no contact with the victims.

n Lila Fujimoto can be reached at