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Violent Kona robbery case referred to Circuit Court

A violent robbery in Kailua-Kona that sent one man to the hospital was referred to Circuit Court for further proceedings.

During a continued preliminary hearing Tuesday, a close friend of Thomas Bower described the alleged attack May 27 that resulted in Bower, 25, suffering a skull fracture and internal bleeding in front of Denny’s on Henry Street.

Andrew Sandeen, who also had his backpack stolen in the incident, said he tried to intervene but stepped away when Randall Todd Chase started swinging a collapsible metal baton.

“I took a step toward him saying ‘Chase, come on. What’s the deal?’” Sandeen said. “He took a step toward me. … When he came at me, he came like he was going to hit me, so I stepped back.”

Chase, 28, struck Bower three or four times with the baton, at one point saying something like, “You think this is a joke?’” Sandeen, 23, testified.

“The first time was blatantly to his head,” Sandeen said. “After that he was curled into one ball, so it was a leg, arm, head again.”

The entire incident took about a minute from when Chase first approached the pair to when he headed to a car with Bower and Sandeen’s backpacks in his possession, Sandeen said.

In an earlier hearing, police said the incident appeared to revolve around an argument about a computer and Chase needing money. Police said they’d been told by a doctor Bower could have died if he had not received medical treatment for his injuries.

Bower suffered slurred speech and memory difficulties immediately following the incident.

Chase, 28, is charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, first-degree assault, two counts of third-degree theft, promoting a third-degree dangerous drug, promoting a third-degree detrimental drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Bower and Sandeen followed Chase to a black two-door sedan, trying to recover their backpacks, which contained clothing, an iPod, electronics and other items.

“I was like, ‘Chase, come on, why are you taking my stuff? I had nothing to do with this,’” Sandeen said. “Chase didn’t respond to anything I said the entire time.”

Questioned by defense attorney Dawn Henry, Sandeen denied seeing Chase a day or two earlier in Holualoa and taking his wallet and backpack.

Hawaii Police Detective Edwin Buyten, who searched the vehicle and Chase’s backpack after the arrest, said the pack contained a glass pipe and residue thought to be methamphetamine, 11.6 grams of what is presumed to be marijuana, a digital scale and a billfold with Chase’s Hawaii identification card. He also found a Smith &Wesson 26-inch collapsible baton under the driver’s seat.

Email Bret Yager


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