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Man can continue drug treatment in gun theft case

WAILUKU — A Kula man was given a chance to continue in drug treatment when he was placed on four years’ probation Thursday for stealing a relative’s shotgun and firing a rifle in a residential area last year.

Scott H. Baker, 30, now realizes that his struggles with substance abuse over the last five years was “putting him on this path where he has blown by a number of much easier off-ramps,” said his attorney, Chris Dunn,

“This is the last offramp on this narrowing path that he’s on,” Dunn said in arguing for probation for Baker. “This is it for him.”

In two criminal cases, Baker had pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless endangering and first-degree theft, with other charges dismissed in exchange for his pleas.

The theft of a relative’s shotgun occurred Oct. 31, according to court documents. Baker was arrested a few days later on the night of Nov. 3 when he fired a rifle near others outside a house in a residential area in Kula, police said.

When he changed his pleas in the cases Jan. 14, Baker was released from jail on supervision to enter residential drug treatment on Hawaii island. He allegedly left the program against medical or clinical advice in March, according to court documents.

Then he enrolled in a drug treatment program on Maui, Dunn said.

“I’m finally kind of on the right track now, dedicated to a program of recovery and staying sober, getting along with life,” Baker said in court. “I’m very sorry for all my actions.”

The prosecution also recommended probation for Baker, who previously spent about two and a half months in jail.

In following a plea agreement and placing Baker on probation, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill noted that the defendant had reentered treatment on his own.

At the time of the offenses, Baker was under court supervision after he was given a chance in 2016 to keep felony convictions off his record for a drunken driving collision that seriously injured a police officer. Witnesses said Baker drove toward a police car after being pulled over at Makena State Park in 2013, following reports of a vehicle being driven erratically.

Based on his new convictions, his deferral was revoked Thursday, and he was found guilty of first-degree negligent injury and second-degree criminal property damage. He was resentenced to four years’ probation.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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