Jury: Silva not guilty of felony charges

LIHU‘E — Following a four-day trial, a jury found Dean Silva Jr. not guilty of felony charges and guilty of three misdemeanor offenses Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Silva, 35, of Kapa‘a, was indicted on charges last April of first-degree terroristic threatening, resisting arrest, first-degree assault against a law enforcement officer, first-degree terroristic threatening, and attempted felony posession of a firearm. The charges relate to a morning domestic incident and an afternoon scuffle with police on Dec. 6, 2011.

The jury came back with a partial verdict just after 4 p.m., finding Silva guilty on misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, and the lesser offense of second-degree assault against a law enforcement officer. He was found not guilty of attempted felony possession of a firearm and first-degree terroristic threatening.

The jury went back into deliberation and returned around 5:05 p.m. with a guilty verdict of second-degree terroristic threatening. 

Silva will be sentenced on Aug. 23.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano presided over the weeklong trial as six witnesses came forward to describe perspective on two incidents that occurred on Dec. 6, 2011. 

Silva was reportedly in a heated argument with his fiancé, and it led to his attempting to drive a pickup truck toward her in a threatening manner. 

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin said that Silva was using his truck to terrify the woman. She said her life would have been in danger if she had not run up an embankment.

Defense attorney Craig De Costa questioned the fiancé, who said she had exaggerated the danger under pressure from Silva’s parents. She said they believed it was in the interest of Silva’s safety and the household to have him arrested. 

The woman and Silva are now married, but she was able to testify because they were not at the time of the incident. Hawai‘i law also does not extend the privilege of withholding testimony in cases involving abuse of a family or household member.

Arin said Silva exhibited behavior that concerned his family to the point that they acted to protect him and themselves. She said Silva was a threat to himself and others.

The fiancé said the police told her that their report would not result in an arrest, and so she enhanced it out of anger and pressure from the family.

De Costa said the woman’s testimony illustrates that she was never in danger with the truck 300 feet away before it started moving. She was frightened, he said, but did not believe Silva would have run into her with the truck.

Two responding police officers initially let Silva go but stopped him at a gas station that afternoon to arrest him. 

One of the officers testified that a struggle ensued while trying to take him into custody, resulting in Silva being held to the ground. He said Silva struck the officer in the face.

A second officer said that while on the ground, Silva attempted to pull at the .40 caliber Glock 22 semiautomatic firearm that was in a secure holster. 

Arin said the witnesses did not report seeing the punch or the attempt to get the policeman’s weapon, because they were not in view of the altercation at that moment.

De Costa said there were witnesses to the altercation and arrest. No one corroborated the police assault or the attempt to get at the firearm, he said.

Silva did not want to be arrested but he did not wish to harm the officers, De Costa said. The officers removed a knife from Silva that he had ample time to reveal beforehand, which shows that he did not wish to assault the officers, he said.

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