Man ordered to jail for snatching gold chain

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A man who pulled a gold chain off a teenage boy’s neck in a Haiku parking lot was sentenced Thursday to an 18-month jail term for robbery.

Daniel Kekiwi, 23, of Makawao also was placed on four years’ probation.

“He is still struggling to come to grips with his addiction,” said Deputy Public Defender Heather Brown.

Kekiwi had agreed to the jail term when he pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery. Other charges were dismissed in exchange for his plea.

The robbery occurred April 25, 2018, when the boy and his brother-in-law went to Haiku Cannery Mall to buy groceries, and Kekiwi called them out to fight, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing last year.

Kekiwi slapped the brother-in-law and hit the boy in the chest before ripping the chain off the boy’s neck, according to testimony.

Brown said Kekiwi has a plan to go to Kauai to stay with a friend and participate in residential drug treatment while on probation.

She said Kekiwi, who has two young children, has been a cowboy rodeo champion. “That’s the life he would like to return to,” Brown said.

She said Kekiwi is serving the jail term at the same time as jail terms in other cases where his probation was revoked and he was resentenced.

“You’re very successful at rodeo, but you’re not very successful at being a criminal,” 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill told Kekiwi, noting that the defendant already has 10 felony convictions.

“Maybe you’d better just stick with horses,” Cahill said. “It sounds like you do a lot better there.”

Kekiwi was ordered to complete anger management classes and to have no contact with the victims. He was ordered to pay $60 in restitution for the gold chain.