Home-invasion figure
faces trial on gun threat

A man convicted in a Manoa
household robbery is accused
in an unrelated incident


Shaun Rodrigues: He maintains in both cases he is a victim of mistaken identity

The man found guilty in a notorious Manoa home-invasion robbery case is facing a March trial on another charge.

Shaun Rodrigues, who is free while appealing his conviction stemming from the July 8, 2000, robbery, is charged with first-degree terroristic threatening in an alleged incident in the same neighborhood two days earlier. The threatening case had been put on hold pending Rodrigues' trial in the home-invasion case.

After Rodrigues, 24, was sentenced for the home invasion in September, prosecutors indicated they were leaning toward dismissing the terroristic threatening charge against him.

But yesterday, Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara told Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall that his office has decided to pursue the case after all.

"I don't play games," Uehara told the court yesterday in response to objections by defense attorney William Harrison.

Jim Fulton, of the Prosecutor's Office, said several people reassessed the case and felt that the charge could be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Crandall set trial for the week of March 14, when a request by the defense to suppress identification by witnesses will be heard.

According to police reports, Paul Sunu arrived at his father's Hillside Avenue home with other family members the afternoon of July 6, 2000, when they saw a male walking down the steps and a ladder propped up against the house near a window. Sunu confronted the man and asked for his ID but was told it was in a car down the street.

The man began walking toward the car with Sunu following when he purportedly pushed Sunu down, saying he had a gun, police said. When Sunu asked to see the gun, the man pulled it out of his front pocket, pointed it at him and swore, asking if he "wanted it" before fleeing, Sunu told police.

In September, Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall sentenced Rodrigues, of Kailua, to 20 years for breaking into the home of Dianne Sugihara, tying her and her adult daughter up and robbing them at gunpoint.

Rodrigues maintains he was wrongly convicted based on misidentification by the Sugiharas and on flawed photo lineup procedures. Rodrigues contends that a man who is in prison for a similar Kailua home invasion robbery in August 2000 is responsible for the Sugihara robbery.

If convicted of the threatening charge, Rodrigues faces a possible five-year term.

Harrison, who represented Rodrigues at trial in the home-invasion case, said his client will be devastated when he hears that the charge was not dismissed.

He said his client is innocent and they expect to file a motion to dismiss the charge because of the delay in taking Rodrigues to trial. "This has been going on forever and ever," Harrison said.

He said he will also be challenging the victim's identification of Rodrigues as the gunman.

"These witnesses had seen news reports of my client before they were asked to identify my client in a photo lineup," Harrison said. "At the time, there was a lot of news reports about a lot of robberies in Manoa, so it's easy for the witness to say, 'Yeah, that's the guy,' once they see him on TV."

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