By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
The suspects in a Friday night Puna home invasion and an unrelated home burglary Wednesday in Hilo made their initial court appearances Monday.
Hilo District Judge Barbara Takase ordered 31-year-old Dustin James Jose and 31-year-old Jack A. Vaughn of Kailua-Kona to appear today at 2 p.m. for a preliminary hearing.
Jose and Vaughn are accused breaking into a 30th Avenue home in Hawaiian Paradise Park at about 9:30 p.m. Friday and stealing a woman’s purse with about $75 in contents and a child’s backpack with clothes.
Both are charged with robbery, two counts of burglary and three counts of assault.
Defense attorneys asked for supervised release for both suspects, which was denied after Deputy Prosecutor Roland Talon told the court that the defendants “pose a high risk of danger in the community.”
Vaughn has no previous criminal record. Jose is facing unrelated felony charges that he sexually abused two minors. He is scheduled for trial Sept. 3 before Kona Circuit Judge Elizabeth Strance.
“I’m going to note that he’s currently on supervised release and this new charge is basis for revocation for that supervised release,” Takase said, and added that the state is in the process filing a request to revoke Jose’s supervised release.
Both men remain in custody — Jose in lieu of $60,000 bail and Vaughn in lieu of $12,000 bail — at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
According to court documents, 33-year-old Claudine Prados told police that three masked men drove a dark-colored truck into her yard on 30th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park and entered her home without permission, struck her numerous times about the head, and backed her into a set of jalousie windows that broke, causing a laceration to her left hand.
Prados’ boyfriend and their 9-year-old son were also attacked, documents state. The 41-year-old man suffered a fractured left eye socket and the boy sustained lacerations to a forearm and shin.
Prados told police that she bit one of the men in the right arm above the elbow. Documents state that Vaughn suffered a laceration on his right bicep “that appears to be a bite mark.” The woman told Hawaii News Now that she picked up a meat cleaver to defend her son and hit one of the suspects several times. She said that after the meat cleaver was knocked from her hand, she picked up a can of pork and beans and threw it at the suspects’ truck as they left, intending to break a window. Instead, the can bounced off the cab of the truck and landed in the truck’s bed, where it was discovered by officers when they stopped the truck and arrested the two men in Kurtistown.
Police Lt. Greg Esteban of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section called the canned beans “an important factor in the solution of the case.”
A third suspect has not been arrested.
“Detectives are trying to follow up on leads on that third suspect,” Esteban said.
According to a police log, the home invasion was the second burglary on 30th Avenue on Friday. Esteban said the home invasion doesn’t appear to be related to another home invasion about an hour later in Mountain View, where two armed masked men reportedly forced their way into a home and struck a 49-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man with weapons before fleeing on foot.
In an unrelated case, a 29-year-old Hilo man also has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. today in Hilo District Court.
According to court documents filed by police, Justin Edison Fergerstrom was caught by a home video surveillance system entering the garage of his next-door neighbor on South Wilder Road numerous times in the span of a few hours. Fergerstrom allegedly took a chain saw, an automotive lift kit, two fishing reels and a pickup truck cowl. The stolen items were valued at about $1,700.
He’s charged with unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle and three counts of burglary.
On Monday, Takase denied a request for supervised release for Fergerstrom and maintained his bail at $85,000. He remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Fergerstrom has an unrelated felony theft case set for trial on July 22. He was on supervised release in that case when the burglary allegedly occurred.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.