Stabbing hearing continued, plea agreement imminent

The preliminary hearing in the attempted murder case against a Kapa‘a man accused of a May Fujii Beach stabbing was continued for the fifth time yesterday in District Court, but prosecution and defense attorneys closed in on a deal that would likely reduce the charges and end the investigation.

Joshua Sesco, 29, of Kapa‘a, was arrested May 16 on suspicion of stabbing 49-year-old Kapa‘a resident Curtis Bupp II, and was originally scheduled to appear in court on May 21.

The preliminary hearing was first postponed until June 3, then until June 25, then again until July 16, and finally until yesterday. It is now tentatively scheduled for Aug. 21.

However, indications are strong that the hearing will never take place. Defense attorney Daniel Hempey announced in court yesterday that a modified plea offer from county prosecuting attorney Craig De Costa was being considered, and witnesses were cautioned by Judge Trudy Senda to check with the attorneys before reporting to the next scheduled court date.

Sesco, who has been formally charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, will remain in police custody in the interim with bail set at $500,000.

Hempey and De Costa declined to confirm the details of the proposed arrangement until after it is formally accepted and ratified in court, but Hempey described the compromise as “splitting the baby in the gray area” and said that the potential for a claim of self-defense was a factor in the negotiations.

Bupp, who attended yesterday’s hearing with son Curtis Bupp III, said in a June phone interview that he was hoping that “real justice” is served, saying that probation would be too lenient but that he is “not looking for life without parole,” either.

“He should get at least 10 years (in prison) I think,” Bupp said. “That would be long enough to help him change his mind.”

In an earlier interview with The Garden Island, Bupp said he and Sesco had previously been friends and that the stabbing, which occurred at a beach celebration of Bupp III’s 21st birthday, was unexpected.

“He already had the knife when he got out of the car. I saw nothing and was expecting nothing,” Bupp said. “The next thing I know, he stabbed me.”

Bupp described the weapon as a “butcher knife” and displayed his hands seemingly at shoulder-width apart to approximate its length.

“The knife originally hit me in the belly, and if it had gone in right there, I’d be dead,” Bupp said. “The knife started to cut and go in, but it hit my hip bone. It jumped over my hip bone and the whole blade went in, almost to my back. It came within one inch of coming out the other side of me.”

Due to the size, shape and location of the wound, doctors had difficulty stopping the bleeding and, Bupp said, administered five units of blood upon his admission to the emergency room. He spent seven days in the hospital.

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