Costa changes plea


A 19-year-old Hilo man pleaded no contest Wednesday to threatening security officers at Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii campus last year and several other offenses.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura ordered Jeremy Costa to be sentenced on Jan. 30 at 8 a.m. In a deal with prosecutors, Costa pleaded no contest to first- and second-degree terroristic threatening, second-degree burglary and two counts of custodial interference.

Costa, who was previously expelled from Kamehameha, allegedly tried to enter the school’s Keaau campus twice in October 2011. On Oct. 24, he was reportedly intercepted by security and turned away. That night, he allegedly posted threats on Facebook aimed at school security, including “rent a cops must die.” The posts also referred to the 2007 Virginia Tech campus massacre.

He was also arrested the following morning at the corner of Kilauea Avenue and Haihai Street while trying to hitch a ride to the school. He was dressed in a school uniform shirt and was carrying books. Police said that when confronted by officers, Costa tore off the shirt and challenged them to fight.

Kamehameha Schools has been granted an injunction to keep Costa away from the campus and from school functions on or off campus.

He had also been arrested numerous times since the Kamehameha Schools incident, but both his lawyer, Ivan Van Leer, and Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville, who retired Friday, said that Costa’s behavior had improved since being placed on medication.

Damerville told the Tribune-Herald in October that the terms of the plea agreement “would reflect that he (Costa) had never been in trouble before” and that he had taken steps to receive help to control his behavior.

 

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