Saturday, February 9, 2002

Defense makes last
effort to exonerate
‘alarm guy’

The suspect in the Manoa home
robbery had been to the home
twice while on the job

By Leila Fujimori

When a mother and daughter were asked to pick out the man who tied them up in their Manoa home and robbed them at gunpoint, Shaun Rodrigues' photo "jumped out" at them, Deputy Prosecutor Russ Uehara said yesterday during closing arguments in Rodrigues' trial.

But defense attorney George Lindsey said the women initially described the suspect as dark-skinned, Filipino or Hawaiian, while his client is fair-skinned and was the lightest of all in the lineup.

The 22-year-old former alarm systems installer is charged with kidnapping, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in the July 8, 2000, incident.

Testimony in the case concluded last summer but was continued to give the defense time to review evidence it had not received from police. Once the evidence was received and reviewed, the closing arguments were worked into Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall's schedule. Crandall, who is hearing the case without a jury, said she would announce her verdict at 9 a.m. on March 1.

Rodrigues allegedly broke into the Sugihara home just as Dianne Sugihara was stepping out of the shower. Hearing a noise, she opened the door to find a man pointing a gun at her face. Her daughter Dawn arrived home, and both were ordered to lie on the ground.

He allegedly took cash and jewelry, including the diamond wedding ring off Dianne's finger, during the Saturday morning home-invasion robbery.

Rodrigues worked for Hawaii Alarm Systems and had been to the home of Dianne and Dawn Sugihara, the prosecutor said.

"He'd been twice in the home, casing it out," Uehara said.

He said Rodrigues was involved in a similar incident at a nearby home, and is a suspect in another attempted home- invasion case.

Police came up with the "alarm guy" theory because of a "rush to arrest," and the case lacks physical evidence, Lindsey said.

"A lot of houses were being robbed in Manoa, and police were under tremendous pressure from the community to get somebody," he said.

Rodrigues' mother, along with other family members, testified her son had been sleeping at their Enchanted Lake home when the robbery occurred, as well as during the other two incidents.

But because police disclosed the times of the three robberies, the Rodrigues family members "were given the opportunity to fabricate an alibi," and the "times conveniently changed to provide an alibi," the prosecution said.

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