Man suspected of shooting police found fit for trial


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A 32-year-old Hilo man accused of shooting and wounding two police officers has been found fit to stand trial.

On Wednesday, Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura scheduled trial for Keaka Martin on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. Martin is charged with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault, plus reckless endangering and six firearms charges. If convicted of the attempted first-degree murder charges, he faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“Mr. Martin is fit to proceed,” Nakamura said. “He is able to understand the charges against him and assist in his own defense, is motivated to help himself in regard to the legal process, has access to competent counsel and is willing to cooperate with counsel, understands his available defenses (and) the roles of various courtroom participants. He has a reasonably good understanding of the court process, and he can participate in the planning of his legal strategy and understands his legal options.”

The judge’s ruling is based on the evaluations of three mental health professionals.

Martin’s attorney, Steve Strauss, told the court his client “is not going to contest the findings of fitness to proceed.”

“He does not waive his rights to assert potential defenses of emotional or mental disturbance,” Strauss said.

Martin is accused of shooting Hilo Patrol Officers Garrett Hatada and Joshua Gouveia with a 9 mm handgun on the evening of Jan. 2 in the parking lot of Pono Place on Kilauea Avenue, the site of the former Green Onion cocktail lounge. Both officers suffered leg wounds and were hospitalized. Both have since returned to duty, according to a police spokeswoman.

Police say Martin, who was the subject of an extensive manhunt, shot himself in the chest the following afternoon as officers converged on an East Palai Street home where he was hiding. According to court documents, a Smith and Wesson Model 9V semi-automatic pistol with a silver barrel and black handle was lying on the floor “in close proximity to Martin.”

Martin was admitted to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition but has recovered. He’s being held without bail at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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