Alleged carjacker allowed to leave jail
The charges involve the theft of a tour van with four passengers
A man accused of hijacking a tour van at Kahe Beach Park and threatening the passengers was granted temporary supervised release yesterday.
But Circuit Judge Marcia Waldorf ordered Ricky Kenui to return March 23 to show proof that he is being assessed for substance abuse and making efforts to get into a treatment program.
Although prosecutors acknowledged that this is Kenui's first arrest and he has cooperated with the police investigation, they objected to his release.
"Given the fact that he wielded a knife and was so driven by his drug addiction to commit these acts, put people in danger and steal a van that's occupied and, after learning there were people inside, continue driving ... given that level of desperation, we objected to dangerousness," said Deputy Prosecutor Kory Young.
Kenui, 37, has been in prison for 14 months after he was arrested in a stolen car in Wahiawa, four days after the hijacking. Items taken from the tour van were allegedly in the stolen car. He has been unable to post $80,000 bail.
Deputy Public Defender Walter Rodby had argued that Kenui, a lifetime Hawaii resident, is not a flight risk and has never been in trouble with the law before.
He used to work as a carpenter and was gainfully employed until domestic problems led to him using methamphetamine, Rodby said. "He'll do well on supervised release and will not re-offend," he said later.
Kenui apologized to the court yesterday for his actions, saying he regrets what he did.
He said he was concerned his wife and three children would be thrown out of their home for not paying the $1,400 rent after his wife underwent surgery recently and is expected to undergo another.
Rodby said Kenui has been offered work installing carpeting if he is released and has done all he can to help police in the investigation. "Ricky doesn't want to contest the case -- he wants to work this out amicably."
Kenui faces charges of first-degree robbery, auto theft, and two counts of breaking into a car from the Jan. 18, 2005, incident.
A tourist and three girls had remained behind in the idling tour van at Kahe Point Beach Park while the other passengers and driver had stepped out to catch a glimpse of dolphins when a man, later identified as Kenui, jumped into the driver's seat and took off.
The passengers told police later that Kenui had terrorized them with a Leatherman tool and ignored their pleas to stop the van. He finally skidded to a stop and ordered them out of the van but to leave their belongings behind. The adult passenger was assaulted by another unidentified male who had followed the van in a separate car. Rodby said Kenui did not know anyone was in the van at the time he stole it.