By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A man accused of breaking his live-in girlfriend’s eye socket during a domestic assault might have been in jail when the incident occurred had a judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest after a missed court date on felony drug and firearms charges, as prosecutors requested.
According to court documents filed by police, 40-year-old Trena Leopoldino suffered an orbital wall fracture to her right eye after an argument with her boyfriend, 34-year-old Caylan Kauiki Ua, turned violent on Monday. The physical altercation occurred in the upper Kaumana home the couple shared after Leopoldino told Ua she was ending the relationship and told him to leave the house, documents state.
Leopoldino told police that Ua bear-hugged her and pushed his chin into her eye socket until she “heard a popping sound,” then struck her several times to the face and slammed her to the ground twice, causing back pain, documents state. He then allegedly took Leopoldino’s daughter’s cellphone when she attempted to call 911 and didn’t return it.
Ua is charged with second-degree assault, domestic abuse, phone ripping and second- and third-degree theft. He made his initial appearance in Hilo District Court on Thursday, in custody.
Ua’s attorney, Kay Iopa, accused police of not allowing Ua to show up for an arraignment on the drug and firearms charges on Tuesday, and alleged prosecutors knew Ua was in police custody and didn’t tell Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.
“Mr. Ua had an arraignment and plea in Judge Hara’s court on March 12 at 1 o’clock. He was in custody on March 12 at 1 o’clock,” Iopa told the court. “He informed the officers that … he had a court appearance. They failed to honor it. It appears that the prosecution knew that he was in custody. He did not inform Judge Hara. Judge Hara forfeited the bail and issued a bench warrant, setting a … cash bail only. Given all of these circumstances, we believe it only fair that a bail study be done, that Judge Hara’s court be informed of the situation, and … we’re asking that a bail study be ordered by this court.”
Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier said he’s also the prosecutor in the Circuit Court case and “was not informed that Mr. Ua was in custody or I would have brought it to the attention of the court.”
“The defendant missed his initial arraignment in Judge Hara’s court as scheduled on Feb. 13. … The bail money was forfeited, at that point,” Skier said. “The bail company actually received notice of the forfeiture, and before the state could file a motion to revoke his release — he had $21,000 bail in that case — the bail company discharged the bail and immediately reposted, and then escorted Mr. Ua to court.
“Mr. Ua appeared in court on Feb. 25. … At that point the court received the motion to revoke his release based on his prior nonappearance in court. Judge Hara refused to sign that warrant, and so Mr. Ua was allowed to remain free at that point. That’s the only reason he was not in custody on the date of this particular offense.”
Skier described Ua as an “extreme danger to the community.”
“The combination of drugs, guns, violence, the fact that he’s already missed court, I’d ask the court to double the amount of bail set in this case,” he said.
Freitas maintained Ua’s bail at $23,000 and ordered that a bail study be done to determine the appropriate bail amount.
“At this point, I’m not gonna double the amount of the bail, but that this point, I think you would agree that a bail study would be a good thing for me to have, so I could see whether or not I should triple or quadruple Mr. Ua’s bail,” the judge said.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.