Possible plea deal for alleged burglar


A possible plea deal is in the works for a 54-year-old former Hilo man who allegedly burglarized the home of a police officer in March.

A change of plea and sentencing hearing for Christopher Brian Perkins is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 7 before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

Perkins is charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree theft, being a felon in possession of a firearm and two other firearms charges.

According to court documents, Perkins allegedly burglarized the Hilo home of Lt. James Gusman on March 16 and took a firearm belonging to Gusman and jewelry belonging to Gusman’s wife, Glorianna. The home has video surveillance and a 1990 BMW sedan seen in the video was linked to Perkins, who had recently bought the car, according to police.

Police said they recovered the stolen firearm and ammunition. It is not known whether the allegedly stolen firearm was Gusman’s service weapon.

Perkins pleaded guilty in June to numerous charges including theft of a credit card, fraudulent use of a credit card, identity theft, computer fraud and forgery in an unrelated case before Kona Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra.

“We have a tentative agreement with the state,” Perkins’ court-appointed attorney, Steve Strauss, told Hara on Monday. “There are some details to be worked out, but we expect that we will be able to have a combined change of plea and sentencing in both (Hilo and Kona) cases.”

“He already pleaded guilty in the Kona case?” the judge inquired.

“He did,” Strauss replied.

According to police, a Kailua-Kona couple reported that their home had been forcibly entered. They initially thought nothing had been taken but later it became known several unauthorized transactions had been made at Kona businesses in Kona using the victims’ credit card number.

Perkins was identified as the suspect through video surveillance police recovered from one of the businesses.

Perkins was arrested at 12:33 a.m. March 19 at Honokohau Boat Harbor in Kona by officers responding to a nuisance call. Police say he was sitting in the BMW when arrested and police confiscated marijuana after a search of the car.

After the hearing, Strauss again noted the plea deal between Perkins and prosecutors is still tentative.

“It would be for probation and placement in a residential substance abuse program,” he said. Asked if any jail sentence would be involved, Strauss replied, “There would be credit for time served, and by the time he’s sentenced, he would be in for eight or nine months. We’re still negotiating on how much jail time, but yes, he’s got jail time.”

In a plea deal in 2009, Perkins pleaded no contest to second-degree theft after having been originally charged with first-degree theft, according to court records. He was sentenced by a Maui judge to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $16,000 in restitution to the victim.

“He did a prison stint and I think he maxed out,” Strauss said, which means Perkins served the entire sentence before being released. “In both the run up to that sentence and during the incarceration, he never had any drug treatment available to him.

“So when the state recognizes that someone is a drug offender, and doesn’t provide treatment, it should be no surprise that they continue to offend.

“I think everybody should have the opportunity to have at least one realistic shot at trying to deal with their addiction before we sentence them to an extended term of imprisonment.”

Both first-degree burglary and first-degree theft are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Perkins is in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of a combined bail of $345,000 for the Hilo and Kona cases.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaii tribune-herald.com.

 

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