Thursday, December 23, 2004

Man with box cutter
at airport is charged

Randy Joseph Rustick walked out of Federal Court yesterday wearing green socks and no shoes.

But the lack of footwear was the least of his problems.

The 33-year-old Fairfax, Va., resident was charged yesterday for allegedly attempting to board an airplane with a dangerous, concealed weapon. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

His black leather shoes had been confiscated by airport security a day earlier after an X-ray machine at the Honolulu Airport Interisland Terminal showed a metal razor blade was hidden in his left shoe.

"I hope I can get him a pair of shoes to wear, because he doesn't have any right now," his attorney Howard Luke said after Rustick's first court appearance.

"I feel very confident that he will be exonerated. Because the case is pending, we can't discuss the particulars of the facts of the case, but we believe that the government will be working together with us in this endeavor," Luke said.

During yesterday's arraignment before Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi, Rustick sat quietly with tear-filled eyes and a crumpled wad of tissue in his hands. He was released on $10,000 bail, and he is expected back in court Jan. 11 for a preliminary hearing.

Rustick surrendered his passport, and he is not allowed to leave the country under conditions of his bond.

"He's emotionally distraught," Luke said. "He was very happy to be home and looking forward to Christmas and looking forward to having a holiday ... and then this happened."

Two days ago, Rustick, his wife and four children were on their way to board an Aloha Airlines flight to visit his mother and stepfather in Kauai. Rustick is originally from the Garden Isle but grew up on the mainland. This was supposed to be a 10-day vacation.

Authorities said Rustick placed his shoes in a plastic bin at a screening checkpoint at the Interisland Terminal at 10:45 a.m. Authorities say that security workers discovered a 3-inch-long metal razor blade tucked under the inner lining of his left dress shoe.

Luke said his client was not aware the blade was in his shoe.

"I don't believe that by any stretch of imagination he knew at any time that this thing was in his shoe at all," Luke said. "He's as surprised as anyone else in how this thing got into his shoe.

"He did travel quite a distance. There's absolutely no reason for him to either use or have it in his shoe at all," Luke said.

Luke described Rustick as a responsible family person who has no criminal record.

Rustick works out of Virginia as a business developer for an Oahu-based computer technology company called Computer Training Academy. Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Rustick is expected to travel to Kauai to spend time with his family until his preliminary hearing.

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