By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
An 18-year-old Pahoa man mistakenly released from jail on March 6 while awaiting trial for robbery pleaded not guilty on Monday to a bail jumping charge.
Hilo Circuit Court Judge Glenn Hara ordered Tyler Kamana‘o Taylor to appear for trial Dec. 16 at 8:30 a.m.
According to a police log, Taylor turned himself in and was arrested Sunday afternoon at a home on Hapuu Street in Leilani Estates near Pahoa.
Police had been looking for Taylor since Department of Public Safety officials released him from Hawaii Community Correctional Center after receiving notification from Hilo District Court that his case — for robbery, theft auto theft, terroristic threatening, unlawful imprisonment and criminal property damage — had been dismissed. The reason for the dismissal by the district court was that Taylor had been indicted on those charges and they were transferred to Hilo Circuit Court, where that same day he had pleaded not guilty.
Taylor originally was to face trial on those charges on July 8 but didn’t show up. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
On Monday, Hilo Circuit Court Greg Nakamura re-scheduled Taylor’s robbery trial for Oct. 21 at 9 a.m.
Loretta Lopes, Taylor’s aunt, said after Monday’s hearings that Taylor called her and told her he wanted to turn himself in before he did so.
“He’s scared; he’s just a kid,” Lopes said when asked why Taylor didn’t show up for court or turn himself in earlier after police issued bulletins describing him as wanted. “He doesn’t want to go to jail.”
Taylor is accused of robbing two 29-year-old campers, Rayna Macher of San Mateo, Calif., and Daniel Toman of San Francisco, on Feb. 6 at Kolekole Beach Park north of Hilo.
Macher told the Tribune-Herald in February that she and Toman were awakened by an intruder in their tent at about 4 a.m. She said the intruder identified himself as “a ranger,” blinded them with a flashlight in their faces, slashed their tent with a knife, threatened them and took possessions including about $150 in cash. He also took the keys to Macher’s rental Ford Mustang, which he used to make his escape.
Police later found the Mustang abandoned in upper Wainaku and arrested Taylor on Feb. 8 at Rainbow Falls.
The most severe charge, first-degree robbery, is a Class A felony carrying a possible 20-year prison term.
Taylor is in custody in HCCC in lieu of $131,000 bail.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.