Fifth Circuit Court proceedings


Thursday in Fifth Circuit Court in Lihu’e, the Honorable Clifford L. Nakea presiding, the results of a mental exam for a man charged with attempted murder were forthcoming; another man was arraigned on charges of sexual assault; and several drug offenders accepted plea agreements.

Mark Vargas, 49, is accused of attempted murder in the first degree for trying to kill a man, 59, by stabbing at the time, after an altercation at the Kekaha low-income housing, where Vargas then lived.

Vargas, who only has the use of one arm and one leg, has undergone a three-doctor psychological examination to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial. Caren Dennemeyer has taken over Vargas’ case from court-appointed defense attorney Erick Moon. Moon recommended the first examination. He is now assigned to the public defender’s office.

The court is awaiting the results of a neuropsychological exam to determine whether previous injuries may have had a negative effect on Vargas’ brain functions.

A trial date has not yet been set. Vargas remains in custody at the O’ahu Community Correctional Center in Halawa.

Ezra Silva was arraigned for charges sexual molestation charges: One sexual assault against a minor, 13 counts of sexual assault in the first degree and 12 counts of sexual assault in the third degree.

Sam Anthony Cantere (also known as Sam Alapai, Jr.) was charged with promoting a dangerous drug in the first degree – in this case, had possession of more than one ounce of methamphetamine. He was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, marijuana and a prohibited weapon. He was scheduled for sentencing on Thursday, but the date has been continued.

Admitted drug offenders who decide to plead guilty to drug charges in exchange for reduced or dropped charges including Timothy Patrick Jeffrey and Moana Haunani Asuncion. They will be sentenced in April.

Jeffrey was charged in three different cases with a total of four counts of possession of having a measurable amount of crystal methamphetamine, one count of possessing more than one-eighth ounce; six counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, two counts of prohibited weapons and having an unloaded firearm.

Asuncion was charged with one count of marijuana possession, two counts of possession of a measurable amount of crystal methamphetamine, one count of possessing more than one-eighth ounce of it; and possession of more than 25 illegal drug tablets.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei or 245-3681 (ext. 252).


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