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‘Vigilante justice’ at Kanaha leads to jail time for aggressors

The Maui News

WAILUKU — Jail terms ranging from one to 20 days were ordered for five family members who participated in assaulting four people in a vehicle in what a deputy prosecutor called “a case about vigilante justice.”

The assaults occurred the night of Jan. 20, 2018, at Kanaha Beach Park after a vehicle driven by Dabriel Gerard and occupied by his wife, Kristel Gerard, cousin Derek Gerard and two children followed a 2001 Chevrolet Tracker driven by Jordan Pinheiro as it turned onto Amala Place in Kahului, according to police.

Pinheiro, who was with passenger Daniel Hoopai and two women in the back seat, tried to turn around near the Kahului Wastewater Treatment Plant, but his vehicle was blocked in by Gerard’s vehicle, according to police. Lawrence Agaran followed the Gerards in another vehicle and cornered the victims, police said.

Dabriel Gerard and Derek Gerard approached first and reached into the vehicle to punch Pinheiro and Hoopai, witnesses said. Agaran and his brother-in-law Ikaika Gerard also were identified as participating in the assault on Hoopai.

After her husband was seen reaching into the vehicle to unlock it, Kristel Gerard entered the back passenger seat, climbed on top of one woman and punched her in the face and punched the other woman in the back of the head, according to the victims.

Pinheiro suffered a nasal fracture and dislocated shoulder, while Hoopai and the two women reported suffering pain.

The assaults stemmed from a dispute between Agaran and Hoopai, who was in an off-and-on relationship with a woman who has a child with Agaran, said Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal.

Before being assaulted, Pinheiro drove Hoopai to Ikaika Gerard’s residence, where “words were exchanged,” Segal said. He said Pinheiro drove off and the Gerards and Agaran followed Pinheiro’s vehicle to the beach park, where the confrontation occurred.

“It’s a case about vigilante justice that ended up involving several family members,” Segal said at a court hearing in February when some of the defendants changed their pleas.

Each of the defendants had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and third-degree assault.

“Hoopai has made amends with the Gerards,” Segal said. “That’s why we reached this agreement.”

At the defendants’ sentencing May 29, defense attorney Wendy Hudson said Agaran “was trying not to respond and didn’t want any drama with Hoopai” that day.

She said Agaran “regrets what happened until this day.”

Agaran said he had wanted “to squash” the dispute verbally after receiving many text messages from Hoopai. The messages threatened to bring “all his boys” to Ikaika Gerard’s house, Agaran said.

Hoopai also had contacted his on-and-off girlfriend 31 times in violation of a temporary restraining order, “which is what prompted this initial reaction,” said attorney Matthew Padgett, representing Dabriel Gerard.

“There was a lot of confusion,” Padgett said. “It was dark.”

While admitting that he and Agaran had hit Hoopai, Dabriel Gerard said he was trying to pull his cousin away when he was hit twice in the head through an open car door by Hoopai.

“I was trying to help them get out of there,” Dabriel Gerard said.

Kristel Gerard said she was “very ashamed” of her actions that night. Contradicting the witness accounts about her role, she said she opened the back door and slapped one of the women.

Her attorney, David Wiltsie, said she “just got caught up in it” and that her actions were “out of character.”

Ikaika Gerard said he was surprised that Hoopai and Pinheiro had shown up at his house. Gerard said his intent was to “protect his kids.” He said he called the police at one point.

Ikaika Gerard, 29, was given a chance to keep the convictions off his record if he performs 50 hours of community service and complies with other court requirements for one year. He was given credit for one day he previously spent in jail.

In imposing the sentence, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said Ikaika Gerard had shown more of an attempt to resolve the dispute right away.

Dabriel Gerard, 37, and Derek Gerard, 33, were each sentenced to 20-day jail terms as part of one year’s probation.

Lawrence Agaran, 27, of Kahului was sentenced to a 10-day jail term as part of one year’s probation.

Kristel Gerard, 35, who said she needed to take care of her son while her husband served his jail term, was sentenced to two days in jail and was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service as part of one year’s probation.

“I cannot send a message out to the community that this is how we handle things,” Bissen said in sentencing the defendants. “These actions could have been avoided.”