Homeless man guilty of threatening Ka Lima cleaning crew

2nd Circuit Court jury deliberated for less than an hour

Brian Adcock listens to testimony with his attorneys Ben Lowenthal (left) and Zach Raidmae (partially obscured) during his 2nd Circuit Court trial. -- The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

WAILUKU — A homeless man who was seen holding a knife while saying he was going to stab workers at Kalama Park in Kihei was found guilty Friday of felony threatening charges.

A 2nd Circuit Court jury deliberated for less than an hour before reaching the verdicts, convicting Brian Adcock as charged of two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.

“We thank the jury for their service,” Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said after the verdict was announced. “For the state, the safety of the community is paramount, especially in our public parks and especially involving those who are most vulnerable in our community.”

Bert “Koa” Kamaka, who was supervising a Ka Lima O Maui janitorial crew of four workers with disabilities, testified he had parked his work truck near the bathroom at the park at about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 10 when he saw Adcock holding a kitchen knife and pacing back and forth.

“Me and my clients were terrified,” Kamaka said. “Two of them ran behind me and the other was asking me, ‘What are we going to do?’ ”

Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones shows jurors how defendant Brian Adcock was holding a knife when he threatened Ka Lima O Maui workers Oct. 10 at Kalama Park. -- The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

Kamaka had some of the clients stand on the far side of the work truck.

“He was walking towards us,” Kamaka said. “He said, ‘I’m going to stab you motherf—ers.’ ”

He said Adcock was walking faster and making a stabbing motion with the knife.

“I was scared,” Kamaka said. “I may be a big guy, but I’m not trained to do something with someone holding a knife, wanting to stab me.”

From the back of the truck, Kamaka got two broomsticks, giving one to worker Billy Tagay and taking the other one and breaking it in half to try to protect the group, he said.

While Tagay watched Adcock as he began walking away, Kamaka said he ran to call police.

Adcock was on the sidewalk along South Kihei Road and yelling toward the workers, Kamaka said. He said Adcock began running away when he heard police sirens.

Kihei patrol officer Antal Kapas followed a worker’s gestures to locate Adcock across the street near Kihei Kalama Village. Kapas said a kitchen knife fell from Adcock when he was arrested.

Later that morning, when the officer questioned Adcock, he said his issue with the Ka Lima workers started the day before when he saw them throwing away his friends’ personal items.

Kamaka said he had been approached at the park Oct. 9 by Adcock, who said that anyone who touched his or his friends’ belongings was going to answer to Adcock.

When Kamaka asked what he meant, Adcock said, “Next time I’m going to cut you or stab you,” Kamaka said.

He said Adcock had been helping a homeless man in a wheelchair that day. In the past, Ka Lima workers had helped the same man get into his wheelchair when he was lying by the bathrooms when the workers arrived, Kamaka said.

Officer Kapas said Adcock reported that he was cleaning his teeth with the knife on Oct. 10 when he saw Ka Lima workers coming from the bathroom with sticks in their hands. Adcock told the officer “he felt threatened by them” and decided to leave when he heard sirens.

Adcock, 45, didn’t testify in his trial.

Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal, in his closing argument to the jury, said Adcock acted in self-defense while feeling in danger from two men, with a combined weight of about 450 pounds, who were carrying sticks.

“A stick can kill,” Lowenthal said. “He has nothing to defend himself but a backpack and a kitchen knife. He held that knife to protect himself, to protect property. He is entitled to.”

In her closing argument, Jones said Adcock was “angry, threatening, gesturing, armed with something very scary — the knife.”

“Bert and Billy weren’t there to fight,” she said. “They were there to work. But the defendant brought a knife to the fight.”

Adcock is set to be sentenced May 31 by Judge Rhonda Loo, who presided over the trial.

He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.