Man who threatened Ka Lima workers sentenced to prison
Judge: You take it to the next level, the court must take it to the next level
WAILUKU — A man who had threatened to stab workers a day before he returned with a knife to a Kihei park was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
Brian Adcock, 45, had asked to be released from jail after being incarcerated for about six months.
“I didn’t do it,” he said, asking to be sentenced to “time served, no probation and let me go about my business.”
Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones argued for prison for Adcock.
While he asked for mercy from the court, he hadn’t shown mercy to Ka Lima O Maui workers who were cleaning the bathrooms at Kalama Park at 6:45 a.m. Oct. 10, Jones said.
“The Ka Lima workers were there to engage in meaningful work in our community to provide clean restrooms,” Jones said. “They were compassionate workers. For them, it should have been an otherwise uneventful day of work on a beautiful day on Maui.”
During a trial in February, Bert “Koa” Kamaka testified that when he encountered Adcock at the park the morning of Oct. 9, he threatened to stab or cut Ka Lima employees if they touched Adcock’s belongings or those of Charles May, who was in a wheelchair.
When the same Ka Lima crew of four workers supervised by Kamaka returned to the park bathrooms the next day, they saw Adcock holding a 6-inch kitchen knife while pacing back and forth.
Billy Tagay said he feared for his life and for his co-workers.
Testifying in the trial, Tagay said he knew May and had helped carry him to his wheelchair several times.
“At one point, he said, ‘We’re disabled too. We know what it’s like to be disabled. We try to treat him like a human being,’ ” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said.
Tagay and Kamaka used broomsticks to try to protect the work crew before Adcock began walking away and Kamaka called police.
Police located Adcock across the street near Kihei Kalama Village. A kitchen knife fell from Adcock when he was arrested.
A jury found Adcock guilty as charged of two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.
“Why did this happen? Because the defendant thought he was in charge. Because the defendant thought he was going to set the rules for our community,” Jones said. “There’s no remorse. There’s no acknowledgment. There’s no accountability. We’re dealing with somebody who’s setting his own rules in our community, and that’s dangerousness.”
She said Kamaka no longer works for Ka Lima. In a letter to the court, Tagay said he “lost trust.”
The crew that had been working together broke up after what happened, Jones said.
“Their lives are changed by this event,” she said.
Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said Adcock is a military veteran, who returned to Hawaii because he had been told he was born here. If placed on probation, Adcock could participate in Veterans Court, Lowenthal said.
“He’s an intelligent, capable person, but he needs help,” Lowenthal said. “He has mental health issues.”
In sentencing Adcock to prison, Judge Loo said, no one should be treated the way Tagay and Kamaka were that day.
“Mr. Tagay and Mr. Kamaka were just doing their job,” she said. “They were just trying to protect themselves, protect the Ka Lima O Maui workers, their co-workers, their friends.
“You escalated the whole situation,” she told Adcock. “You’re the one that was the troublemaker that day. You’re the one that took it to the next level.
“When you take matters into your own hands and take it to the next level, you also ask the court to take the matter to the next level.”
Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas assisted Jones in the trial.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.