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Judge denies man’s request to keep felony off his record

Defendant made threats and had loaded pistol in car

WAILUKU — Saying a man caused a “scary situation” when he made threats and had a loaded pistol in a vehicle, a judge has denied the defendant’s request for a chance to keep a felony conviction off his record.

“You were loaded, the weapon was loaded,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Eric Dawkins. “And when you put those two together, that’s a scary situation.”

Dawkins, 51, was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service as part of four years’ probation. He was given credit for more than six months he previously had spent in jail when he was sentenced Nov. 15.

Dawkins had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of keeping an unloaded firearm in an improper place.

He was arrested the afternoon of Jan. 13 when police were called to the parking lot of Pukalani Terrace Center.

The episode was prolonged, beginning the previous day, said Deputy Prosecutor Joanne Hicks. She said Dawkins was “heavily intoxicated,” put a handgun in his mouth and threatened to kill himself and have his mother clean up after him.

Dawkins also said he would shoot officers if police were called, Hicks said.

“He wanted to make sure everyone in his household knew that he was going to kill himself,” Hicks said.

At the time, his mother, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren lived at the Kula residence.

After Dawkins said he wanted Chinese food and beer and demanded to be taken to Pukalani Terrace Center for his last meal, his mother agreed to drive him there to get him away from the children, Hicks said.

She said police were called and found a loaded 9 mm pistol under the front passenger seat of the vehicle where Dawkins was sitting.

“He was out of control,” Hicks said. “His behavior was dangerous and reckless.”

Dawkins asked for a chance to keep the felony conviction off his record, with defense attorney John Parker saying what happened was an “aberration.”

“This is the first criminal offense on his record of many, many years,” Parker said. “It’s not likely to occur again.”

He said Dawkins was the “designer and primary mover in creating” the Pukalani skate park “and many others around the world.”

A felony conviction would likely prevent him from traveling to many countries for his work, Parker said.

Dawkins said he is a veteran who was honorably discharged.

When he was arrested, Dawkins said he was depressed after a breakup with a longtime girlfriend.

“I don’t have mental health issues,” he said.

He said he hadn’t been drinking and wasn’t intoxicated that day.

“I’m sorry that this relationship didn’t work out,” Judge Loo told Dawkins. “But there are a lot of easier ways to deal with heartbreak.

“When you have access to firearms and ammunition, it’s a dangerous situation,” she said. “You put a lot of people at risk.”

She denied his request for a deferral, saying she was concerned about the loaded firearms and Dawkins being under the influence that day.

Dawkins was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to be assessed for mental health treatment. He was ordered to write a letter, to be submitted to his probation officer, apologizing to his mother, daughter and son-in-law.

He was ordered to have no contact with his daughter, son-in-law and their two children.

The pistol, as well as a shotgun found in a truck at the family home, were forfeited to the state along with ammunition.

Hicks said a report prepared for Dawkins’s sentencing indicated three guns — two revolvers and a rifle — that were registered to him were unaccounted for.

Parker said the weapons had been turned over to a federal firearms dealer. He said the guns were among 20 firearms that had been registered to Dawkins, who had been a collector.

He was ordered to provide proof within 30 days that he no longer had the firearms.

In other sentencings Friday:

• A one-year jail term was suspended for a 38-year-old Kihei woman who stole a backpack that had been left in a bedroom of a house during a wedding in Olowalu last year.

Christina Riley Fauhiva was placed on one year’s probation and was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and write a letter apologizing to the victim.

Fauhiva stole the backpack at about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 2018, when she went into the residence during the wedding reception and took a guest’s backpack containing a Coach wallet, credit cards, driver’s license and passport, said Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani. He said the value of the stolen property was $351.

Fauhiva was caught on surveillance video taking the backpack, Tani said.

Her attorney, Hayden Aluli, said Fauhiva discarded the backpack after not finding money in it and didn’t try to use the credit cards in the wallet.

Since then, Fauhiva has been attending support-group meetings and has a newborn, Aluli said.

She had pleaded no contest to reduced charges of first-degree criminal trespassing and four counts of third-degree theft, as well as another charge of third-degree theft.

“I would like to apologize to my victim for my impulsive, irresponsible, destructive behavior in the community,” Fauhiva said. “I do have an extensive criminal history, but I’ve never tried so hard in my life to change it around. At the time, I was just lost.”

She said she has spent most of her adult life incarcerated.

“Before, I used to not care if I went to jail, but I’m afraid now,” she said. “I don’t want to lose my chance.”

Fauhiva said she speaks to youth offenders in a program and has been volunteering at organizations.

Her criminal record includes 20 felony convictions and 33 misdemeanor convictions for crimes including burglary, theft and forgery, most of them in 2002, Tani said.

“It’s kind of hard to send a mom to prison with a newborn, and she’s been making efforts,” Tani said. “So the state decided to give her a break in this case.”

Judge Loo noted that Fauhiva had shown up for her court dates, including some when her attorney wasn’t present.

“No one wants to put a mother or a father behind bars, but I have and I can and I will,” Loo said.

Now, as the mother of a 4-month-old daughter, “maybe you’re seeing things slightly different,” Loo said. “Maybe now you have a goal in life.

“Everything you do from now on, for the rest of your life, is going to affect her. If that isn’t the biggest goal in one’s life, I don’t know what is.”

• A 34-year-old Waiehu man was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service as part of four years’ probation for stealing equipment and tools from a landscaping business and a trailer.

Kaleo Benjamin was given credit for about five months he spent in jail, most of the time after he didn’t show up for a court appearance.

He said a letter from the man whose trailer was stolen made him think.

“That letter wen’ kind of hit me,” Benjamin said. “I just sorry for my actions.”

He had pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree theft and two counts of third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug. The crimes occurred in February 2016, according to court records.

Hicks said the trailer, which was stolen from the side of the road, was spray-painted from orange to black and had its license plate removed.

Most of the thousands of dollars in property stolen from the landscaping company was eventually recovered, she said. Although an $800 piece of equipment was still missing, the owner didn’t ask for restitution because he didn’t think it would be paid, Hicks said. “He’s extremely angry about what this defendant has done and how much it hurt his business,” she said.

Judge Loo said Benjamin, who is a Maui Drug Court graduate, was lucky to be placed on probation.

She said he might not fare as well if he gets into trouble again and referred to the letter from the man whose trailer was stolen.

“He wants me to put you in a cage, put you on the bottom of Haleakala Highway in an orange jail suit with a sign that says ‘thief’ on it,” Loo said. “If it happens again, I am going to consider it.”