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Man charged with attempted murder asks for reduced bail

WAILUKU — A Kahului man is asking for his bail to be reduced from $1.75 million, following his indictment on charges including attempted murder for allegedly accelerating his vehicle and nearly running over a police officer.

During his arraignment Thursday in 2nd Circuit Court, Kaipo Lapenia-Lau, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault on a law enforcement officer, two counts of first-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle and first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer.

Police had been looking for Lapenia-Lau after he sped away from a traffic stop at 12:32 a.m. Feb. 23 in Wailuku, dragging an officer 3 to 4 feet, according to police.

Police said he nearly ran over an officer when they approached his stopped vehicle at 9:05 a.m. near Mill Street in Wailuku. When Lapenia-Lau’s vehicle accelerated toward the officer, that officer and another officer fired their guns at the vehicle, police said.

Lapenia-Lau wasn’t struck, according to police.

With police in pursuit, he fled to a residence off Kahekili Highway in Waihee, where he was arrested, police said.

During the court hearing Thursday, Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said bail for Lapenia-Lau was “extraordinarily high.”

“It is beyond the means of the Lau family,” Lowenthal said, in asking for the amount to be reduced to $50,000.

He said Lapenia-Lau was working in construction.

Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Teshima asked for bail to remain at $1.75 million or not to be lowered to the amount requested.

“The factual allegations demonstrate his danger to the community, driving a vehicle in a manner that presented an extreme danger to others,” Teshima said.

He noted the defendant’s “repeated attempts to evade police” and said he was a flight risk based on the seriousness of the attempted murder charge.

“We won’t contest that the defendant does have family ties and employment on Maui,” Teshima said. “But we believe the other factors overrule that.”

Judge Kelsey Kawano set a bail hearing for Monday.

Lapenia-Lau is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

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

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