Kaua‘i Coffee burglary suspect faces felonies

The man accused of 23 crimes in connection with a trio of incidents, including a daring Westside attempted burglary and escape in April, agreed yesterday to a “global” plea agreement in which he accepted responsibility for two serious charges on the condition that others be dropped.

Manuel Harding Andrade Jr., 37, of Lawa‘i, tearfully apologized in 5th Circuit Court as he signed papers waiving his right to jury trials and accepted culpability for his lawbreaking behavior.

“I feel that it is my responsibility as a man to stand accountable for things I’ve done wrong,” Andrade, wearing a white Tshirt, prison-issued sweatpants, flip-flops and ankle shackles, told Judge Kathleen Watanabe.

Under the terms of the agreement reached with deputy prosecuting attorney Lila Kanae, Andrade entered pleas of guilty to the charges of second-degree burglary, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and first-degree criminal property damage, a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, both in connection to an April 9 incident.

According to a statement by Kanae during the change of plea proceedings, Andrade set off the business alarm while illegally entering the Kaua‘i Coffee Company headquarters in Kalaheo.

A responding Kaua‘i Police Department officer tried to arrest Andrade, but he resisted, according to county officials. Andrade then reportedly stole a Kaua‘i Coffee pick-up truck and nearly ran over another member of the KPD while fleeing the scene.

County prosecuting attorney Craig De Costa explained that Andrade drove the pick-up truck at a gate blocking his path, behind which was a police cruiser operated by Sgt. Bernard Purisima. At the last moment, Purisima moved the car, avoiding Andrade’s truck, which had busted through the gate.

Originally, those actions had also led to an attempted murder charge, but De Costa said that it was possible that Andrade was merely intending to escape and not necessarily attempting to cause Purisima’s death.

According to section 708-820(a) of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, a person commits first-degree criminal property damage if he or she “intentionally or knowingly damages property and thereby recklessly places another person in danger of death or bodily injury.”

After escaping the scene, Andrade continued to drive recklessly, heading westbound on Kaumuali‘i Highway until he crashed into a guardrail in the vicinity of ‘Ele‘ele Shopping Center.

When police attempted to subdue the man, he again resisted arrest, assaulting and injuring two officers. After finally taking Andrade into custody, officers reportedly discovered drugs on his person.

Purisima was recognized by KPD Chief Darryl Perry as July’s employee of the month for his role in the arrest. Four officers were honored in June for their roles in the same incident.

In return for the two guilty pleas, the state will drop the remainder of the charges related to the case, which include first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault of an officer, second-degree assault, second-degree assault of an officer, unauthorized control of a vehicle, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, resisting arrest, resisting an order to stop a vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and third-degree promotion of both a dangerous drug and a detrimental drug.

Furthermore, the state will drop nine charges stemming from a pair of outstanding domestic violence cases against Andrade. Those charges include kidnapping, choking, first-degree terroristic threatening, three counts of third-degree assault, two counts of harassment and interference with the reporting of a crime.

The plea agreement stipulates that the state will not request that the prison terms run back-to-back or that Andrade be subjected to an extended term of imprisonment, which would double each of the maximum penalties and could keep him behind bars for up to 30 years.

However, in the end, Watanabe will determine Andrade’s jail time at the Oct. 15 sentencing hearing, until which Andrade will remain in custody.

A spokesperson for the county prosecutor’s office originally said that the aggregate bail for the three cases had been set at more than $1 million, but that number could change dramatically as the court will conduct a new bail analysis in light of the dismissal of the vast majority of the charges.

According to police records, Andrade has a long history of criminal activity, with convictions for burglary on the islands of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Maui as well as convictions for theft, forgery and escape beginning in the late 1980s.

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at mlevine@kauaipubco.com

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