Robbery suspect appears in court


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A 37-year-old Honomu man accused of two failed robberies last week made his initial court appearance on Monday.

Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas ordered Kris Randall Villasista to appear for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Villasista is charged with two counts of attempted robbery plus auto theft.

Deputy Public Defender Zachary Wingert requested supervised release for Villasista, while Deputy Prosecutor Winston Albright asked the judge to maintain Villasista’s $110,000 bail.

“The defendant does have a prior conviction for (auto theft) in 2008 and served a 30-day jail sentence, and has six convictions for criminal contempt of court,” the prosecutor said.

Freitas maintained the bail amount, and Villasista remained in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Monday night.

According to court documents, a cashier at the 76 gas station at the corner of Kaumana Drive and Ainako Avenue told police that at about 11:45 a.m. on July 31, a man completely covered in an orange long-sleeve hooded jacket and jeans with brown boots waved a black handgun at the cash register and said “come on, come on.”

The cashier, identified in documents as 40-year-old Michele Mikami, refused to give the man man money and he drove off in a white Suzuki Samurai with no license plates.

About 20 minutes later, 31-year-old Micah Alexander, an employee of Atlas Recycling Center on Waianuenue Avenue, told police a man covered up in clothes bearing the same description met him at the back door holding what appeared to be a black handgun and said, “Give me your money,” documents state.

Alexander also refused, police said, and the man fled in a white Suzuki with no license plates.

Documents state that police received information that Villasista and the white Suzuki, which was stolen, were at a Honomu home. The home’s owner, Steven Okano, reportedly told police he had bought the Suzuki from Villasista. Police served a search warrant and confiscated the Suzuki that afternoon.

Police later served a search warrant on Villasista’s home, found the orange-hooded jacket and arrested Villasista, documents state.

Villasista has also been identified as the suspect in a May 30 robbery at Hamakua Coast Federal Credit Union. Police say a man wearing dark glasses, a baseball cap, sweatshirt and camouflage pants with a fluorescent green mask covering his face pointed what appeared to be a handgun at two tellers and demanded cash.

The suspect got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

Villasista was later arrested, but was released pending further investigation. He has not been charged with the credit union robbery, to date.

Villasista was also charged by prosecutors on July 15 with third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, drug paraphernalia and fourth-degree theft. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on July 24 and was on supervised release when the attempted hold-ups occurred a week later.

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

 

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