Bail stays at $250K for suspect accused in flare gun shooting

Prosecution says Manuel Nunes Jr., 36, is a flight risk

WAILUKU — Bail was kept at $250,000 Wednesday for a 36-year-old homeless man who allegedly shot another homeless man with a flare pistol near the old Kahului Safeway last month.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo maintained bail for Manuel Nunes Jr. after agreeing with the prosecution that Nunes could be a flight risk, as he has nine prior convictions for contempt of court or failure to appear.

Deputy Prosecutor Annalisa Bernard Lee asked that bail be maintained because of Nunes’ prior record for not making court appearances and the second-degree attempted murder charge, among others.

But defense attorney Matthew Padgett asked that bail be reduced to $100,000.

“He has family here. His wife, mom and dad are sitting here (in the courtroom),” Padgett said.

He added that Nunes probably couldn’t even post $100,000 bail.

In addition to the second-degree attempted murder charge, Nunes is charged with two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, carrying or possessing a loaded firearm on a public highway, second-degree assault and prohibited possession of a firearm.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Nov. 18.

Nunes allegedly shot 28-year-old Doug Balinbin at around 4 a.m. Sept. 12 on Hoohana Street in Kahului. Balinbin said he was shot in the upper back and in the back of his head by Nunes while walking away from an argument with Nunes, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing.

Police said at the hearing that Nunes told them that Balinbin had pulled a knife and slashed it at Nunes, who felt something hot near his right eye.

Police said Nunes told them he pulled the flare pistol out of a shopping cart he was using and pointed it in the direction of Balinbin. Nunes told police Balinbin was walking or running away when he pulled the trigger, but it did not discharge at first.

It was when Nunes was lowering the gun to the ground when it suddenly went off, police said they were told.

Nunes’ wife, Blossom Edayan Nunes, 36, was arrested after she allegedly hid the gun from police. She was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution, keeping a firearm in an improper place and keeping ammunition in an improper place.

She has been released on $6,000 bail, according to court records.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.


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