Defendant wants charges dismissed

LIHU’E — A man charged with six counts of sexual assault, kidnapping, and for threatening someone, wants the charges dismissed.

Melvin Muriel Kneip was indicted by members of a Kaua’i grand jury in November 2004. His attorney, June Ikemoto, argued in court papers that there was a delay between the time of the alleged offenses and the indictment, and that evidence favorable to her client was not presented to members of that grand jury.

Court papers say Kneip was indicted one year and four months after the alleged offenses took place, July 14 and 16, 2003. Ikemoto claimed that witnesses who could have heard anything, including pleas for help, are no longer available, and that the physician who examined the alleged victim is no longer on the island.

Ikemoto also pointed out that attempts to get the alleged victim’s and Kneip’s cellphone records turned out to be futile. The cellphone records would contain information on dates and times of calls both made before, during and after the alleged offenses.

Ikemoto argued in court papers that a Kaua’i Police Department detective’s report should have been presented to the grand jury. She pointed out that that Kneip told the detective that he never forced the alleged victim to engage in any type of sexual activity.

Additionally, the detective reported that there was no physical evidence to support the alleged victim’s allegations.

According to court papers, county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn objected to the dismissal. She argued that the alleged victim’s testimony was presented to the grand jury to establish the charges against Kneip.

Winn also wrote that the detective attempted to locate Kneip, but could not set up a time to interview him. Additionally, the deputy prosecutor in charge of the case was on maternity leave, and wanted to go over the case with the alleged victim before it went to the grand jury.

In court papers, Winn pointed out that U.S. Postal Service officials should be subpoenaed for the forwarding address of the physician who examined the alleged victim.

Winn also wrote in court papers that Ikemoto needs to show that she failed to get at the cellphone records.

According to court records, Ikemoto subpoenaed Verizon leaders in October.

Kneip, 46, was arrested in December 2004 in Texas, according to court records. He is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault, and one count of kidnapping.

Kneip also is charged with one count of third-degree assault, and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.

The terroristic threats involved a beer bottle and a glass dish, according to the indictment.

If convicted on all counts, Kneip could be sent to jail for a maximum of 106 years.

Kneip is free on $50,000 bail.

According to court records, Kneip was living in Kapa’a at the time of the alleged offenses.

According to court records, the alleged victim reported to KPD officers two incidents of sexual assault by Kneip, on July 18, 2003.

According to court records, the KPD detective working the case did not get a statement from Kneip until April 14, 2004, and the case was presented to the grand jury on Nov. 15,

Kneip was initially represented by lawyers in the Office of the Public Defender. In March, Ikemoto became Kneip’s attorney.

Kneip’s jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday, Dec. 19.

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