By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Three victims of a pair of home invasions in Hawaiian Paradise Park testified about their night of terror at the hands of three masked men.
At the preliminary hearing for suspects Dustin Jose and Jack Vaughn, 41-year-old Clayton Mahi said that a pickup truck came onto the 30th Avenue property of his former girlfriend, Claudine Prados, at about 9:30 p.m. on June 12 and pulled into the yard with the headlights shining into the windows of the home. He said that masked men got out of the truck.
“I turned around and screamed “run” and “go” as loud as I could to the ladies,” Mahi said. “… And as I turned around, the passenger-side guy and me was locked up already and the driver came and boom, I was over the wall, on the ground. … He was holding onto me and I tried to hold onto him and I took a ride.
“I went over the wall and onto the cement, and the guy with the gray mask landed on top. … He wen grab my head and smash ‘em into the cement, telling me to shut up. … I was seeing stars already.” Mahi said the man repeatedly smashed his head into the ground.
Court documents stated that Mahi suffered a broken eye socket.
“This is how serious it was, she (an emergency room doctor) told me not to blow my nose or I could separate my cornea,” Mahi said.
Prados, the mother of two of Mahi’s children, said another man entered the house and threatened her and her 9-year-old son.
“He told us he needed to tie us up; I told him no,” she said.
Prados said she tried to protect her son by picking up a meat cleaver and hitting the man over the head with the blunt side.
“The meat cleaver fell out of my hand and he pushed me into my (jalousie window) louvers,” she said. “… I remember I bit him … above the elbow.”
“… I remember my son yelling, ‘Leave my mom alone,’” she said. “… I was on the ground and I reached into a cupboard and pulled out a can and started hitting him and trying to get him to leave.”
Prados said she called for help and one of the other men came and started hitting her in the face. She said she fought back and the men left the house. She followed them outside and tried to get the truck’s license plate number, but there was no front plate.
“I had the can of food in my hand, so I actually threw it at the truck,” she said.
“What kind of canned goods was this?” asked Deputy Prosecutor Roland Kaholo Talon.
“Pork and beans,” Prados replied. “… It hit the truck and then I heard it land inside.”
“What part of the truck?” Talon inquired.
“In the bed of the truck,” Prados said.
She said the men made off with her purse and checkbook and a backpack with her son’s clothing.
“The guy that hit me was the one that took my purse,” Prados said.
Tina Machado-Kong, who lives in a house behind Prados’ said she was in Prados’ home when the truck pulled up, but fled to her own home. She said that one of the men kicked her door in and entered her home. She said the man seemed concerned that she might call police and asked if she had a phone.
“I was gonna call the cops, but I left my phone at (Prados’) house,” she said. “I told him he could take whatever he wanted when he kicked down the door.”
She said the man took a flashlight, which she said police found later outside of Prados’ house.
“There was a commotion at the other house,” Machado-Kong said. “There was yelling and screaming and I didn’t know if he was coming back to finish what he had started.”
Machado-Kong said that everyone was shaken up. She said Prados’ hand was bleeding from the jalousie louvers.
“She was crying; she was hysterical,” she said.
She added that Mahi was bleeding also.
“His eye was bus’ up,” she said. “He wen hug me and got blood on my face.”
Mahi said that his son is traumatized by the incident.
“For many days, he no like sleep,” Mahi said.
The prosecution plans to call two police officers to the stand when the hearing continues on Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. in Hilo District Court.
Jose and Vaughn, both 31-year-old Kona men, were arrested later that night in Kurtistown, and are charged with robbery, two counts of burglary and three counts of assault. Jose is free on $60,000 bail while Vaughn remains in Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $12,000 bail. Police have not arrested a third suspect.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.