Couple charged in squatting case
Police arrested and charged a couple for allegedly squatting in a vacant Pepeekeo home owned by a former county clerk and deputy prosecutor.
Akoni K. Perry, 27, and 32-year-old Holly Kaleki White entered pleas of not guilty to charges of first-degree burglary and fourth-degree theft Monday afternoon. They were ordered by Hilo District Judge Barbara Takase to return at 2 p.m. Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.
According to court documents filed by police, the Kaupakuea Homestead Road home is owned by Jamae Kawauchi, an attorney who was formerly a county clerk and deputy prosecutor, and her husband James Takamine, president and chief executive officer of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union.
Documents state a neighbor saw lights inside the unoccupied home and called police. An exterior check was done on the home and a broken screen found on the west side of the house. Police saw three boys sleeping on a bed inside the home, and arrested Perry and White, according to documents.
Kawauchi was reportedly contacted and told police she doesn’t know either Perry or White and didn’t give them permission to stay in the home. Documents state she later came to the house and told police numerous appliances and household items were removed from the residence. She reportedly estimated the value of the items at $13,605.
Ivan Van Leer and Kanani Laubach, court-appointed attorneys for Perry and White, respectively, asked the judge to grant their clients supervised release.
“There are three children that are involved here, children of the co-defendant Miss White,” Van Leer said. “… In this matter, they found an abandoned house and just moved into an abandoned house. The theft … was utilities. I don’t think the utilities were on in the place. I’d like the court to reconsider. Someone’s got to take care of these kids. They’re currently just housed with the co-defendant’s sister and she can’t keep watching these little ones. One’s a year old. Another one’s five and another one’s 10.”
Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Loo asked the judge to maintain bail for both defendants.
“Mr. Perry has a very extensive criminal record,” she said. “He also in on probation for two felony thefts, five years probation as of 2011. He also has two failure to appear convictions as well as three criminal contempt of court convictions.”
White was also placed on five years probation in 2012 for felony theft, according to court records.
Takase maintained bail for both at $5,250. Both remained in custody Monday evening at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
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