Man regrets causing
disturbance at Bankoh

By Debra Barayuga

A 50-year-old man who set his Mercedes-Benz on fire at a busy downtown intersection and sprayed fire extinguishers and paint at the main Bank of Hawaii branch last November apologized yesterday for his conduct.

Richard Elstner, who had been involved with legal disputes with Bank of Hawaii over the administration of his late father's estate for the past six years, said the litigation had taken a psychologically toll.

"And one day I lost it and I sincerely regret it."

Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto granted Elstner a deferral of his no-contest plea for five years, citing Elstner's clean record until this incident, the stress he was under at the time and that he had taken steps to address his problems.

Elstner had pleaded no contest in May to reckless endangering, four counts of third-degree assault and criminal property damage.

Elstner said he has reflected on his actions during the six months he spent in jail and three months at Kahi Mohala, where he was clinically discharged last week. He hopes to be able to find a job and continue with his life.

Deputy Public Defender Todd Eddins had argued for the deferral, saying Elstner was not a danger to the community and his actions were an "aberration that was rooted in his despair over contentious litigation."

Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Ikeda had opposed the deferral, saying his actions were "pretty extreme."

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