Friday, July 6, 2001

Jailed man faces
new charges

The carjacking suspect also
is accused of trying to kill
someone at a party on June 9

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> A Big Island man already facing trial for an incident in which he was shot by police must face a separate trial for allegedly firing shots during a housewarming party.

Keola Nathen Kanae, 19, is being held without bail.

David Benevides, who attended the party in Paradise Park south of Hilo, said he heard someone shout, "He's got a gun. He's going to shoot."

At a preliminary hearing for Kanae, Benevides testified he saw Kanae get out of a car at nightfall on June 9 and shoot at Tyrel Andrews.

Kanae's girlfriend, Alicia Schweitzer-Mercado, testified Kanae fired four shots, all into the air.

District Judge Barbara Takase ruled there was enough evidence to bind Kanae over to Circuit Court for trial on attempted murder, 11 counts of terroristic threatening, and use of a firearm in a felony.

Benevides said the party was at the home of Christine Freitas, his son's girlfriend. When the man jumped out of the car with a gun, he pointed it at Andrews, who is Freitas' brother, Benevides said.

"I saw him point the gun at Tyrel, and Tyrel started running, and he fired," Benevides said.

Kanae also pointed the gun -- a lever-action .30-.30 rifle -- at Benevides and asked if Benevides wanted to be shot, Benevides said.

"Everybody picked up their kids and ran into the house. Everybody was screaming something," he said.

Kanae fired a total of four shots, then left, Benevides said.

The only explanation for the shooting was testimony by Schweitzer-Mercado that Kanae received a phone call before the shooting which "upset" him.

Five days later, Kanae was wounded in the chest by a policeman during a carjacking.

An accomplice in the carjacking, Shaun "Mika" Thompson, 20, who had driven Kanae to the housewarming, committed suicide when surrounded by police.

In a separate hearing earlier this week, District Judge Jeffrey Choi ruled there is enough evidence to try Kanae for kidnapping of the car's occupants, terroristic threatening and using a firearm in a felony.

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