Supervised release denied for robbery suspect

LIHU‘E — One of four suspects charged in the robbery of a Koloa gas station in January was denied supervised release Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Judge Kathleen N. A. Watanabe said the severity of the crimes, felony first-degree robbery and attempted second-degree theft, weighed against defense arguments that Clarence Montgomery is not a threat to the community or a flight risk. She instead granted the alternative relief motion to reduce bail by half to $50,000.

Ka-Ne, 21, of Koloa, was arrested on Jan. 4 and accused of taking part in the Koloa Chevron convenience store robbery. He was presented as the “least culpable” of the defendants by Defense Attorney Caren Dennemeyer.

Ka-Ne is currently being held at Kaua‘i County Correctional Center, where Dennemeyer said his good behavior makes him eligible for supervised release. His family was present to support the attorney’s statements that they would ensure he follows the terms of release until his trial on May  21.

Dennemeyer said the family does not have the assets to cover a high bail amount. The judge said she had to consider the official reports where the block for dangerousness was left blank.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes objected to conditional release but not to the $50,000 bail amount.

Ka-Ne and the other three defendants are being tried separately in the violent early morning robbery. Defense  attorneys argued that Ka-Ne should not be prevented from release because he took no part in brandishing a hunting knife, or punching and kicking the manager.

Mendes said Ka-Ne was a willing participant and even if tried separately, is party to the same crime with defendants Josiah Kaluna, 18, of Koloa, , Mason Noah Saio, 20, of Kalaheo, and Kalai Hans Vicente, 18, of Kapa‘a.

Kaluna faces additional charges of fourth-degree criminal property damage and two counts of third-degree assault. Saio and Vicente each face one count of third-degree assault.

The suspects are accused of property damage and theft of cash, wine, cigarettes and store items.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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