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Tensions run high during slaying suspect's hearing


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POSTED: Saturday, May 02, 2009

A brief shouting match erupted in a district courtroom yesterday following the initial appearance of a 45-year-old Waimanalo man charged with fatally shooting a 47-year-old Kailua criminal defense attorney.

After District Judge Edwin Nacino set Tuesday as the preliminary hearing date for Daniel Kalanai Kahanaoi, Tim Hershman started yelling from the third row of the seventh-floor courtroom.

Hershman identified himself as one of attorney Craig Kimsel's best friends. “;He was the best man at my wedding,”; Hershman yelled. “;Danny, I hope you sleep good tonight.”;

In response, Kahanaoi, dressed in a white prison jumpsuit and standing in the center of the courtroom, made an obscene gesture at Hershman.

Three members of Kahanaoi's family were sitting in the second row of the District Court room and turned around to confront Hershman.

Two deputy sheriffs stepped in to separate Hershman and the two men and a woman and escorted Hershman out of the room.

In the hallway Hershman told reporters he flew in from Kona yesterday morning to be at Kahanaoi's hearing.

Kahanaoi was charged Thursday with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, two counts of carrying and using a firearm in the commission of a felony and violation of a temporary restraining order. His bail was set at $1 million.

Hershman said he had known Kimsel for 30 years and roomed with him before he went to law school.

“;I hope he (Kahanaoi) burns in hell,”; Hershman added. “;I hope justice prevails. I wish we were in Texas where he would get the death penalty.”;

Joseph Kahanaoi, the suspect's brother, told reporters that Daniel Kahanaoi's ex-girlfriend, Rusty Lee Anoba, was “;a drug addict. My brother was trying to help her get off.”;

Police and Kimsel's friends said Kahanaoi was looking for Anoba, 41, when he went to Kimsel's Oneawa Street house Tuesday night. Anoba, a client and former girlfriend of Kimsel's, had taken refuge there hiding from Kahanaoi.

Vernett Kahanaoi, Joseph Kahanaoi's wife, added that her brother-in-law is “;a good person”; and that is why he turned himself in to police.

She added, “;The question is why, why did this happen?”;

She disputed reports that Kimsel had fortified his Kailua home to protect himself against her brother-in-law as the attorney's family has alleged.

“;They are just making up the facts,”; she said.

“;There are two sides of the story.”;

Both Anoba and Kimsel had filed for restraining orders against Kahanaoi.

Kahanaoi shot Kimsel twice — once in the neck and another time in the back, according to court records.