LIHUE — The “least culpable” and only non-violent of four co-defendants involved in a Koloa Chevron robbery was granted a deferred acceptance of his plea with a stayed jail sentence as an incentive to perform well on felony probation.
Clarence Montgomery Ka-Ne II, 22, of Koloa, was sentenced to a five-year felony probation and to the maximum 18-month jail sentence for the probation on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court. He had already served 168 days in jail prior to supervised release and the court stayed the remainder of the 18 months unless he fails at probation.
“If you mess up you will spend the rest of that time in jail,” said Judge Kathleen Watanabe.
Ka-Ne was sentenced on the second-degree robbery charge. It is a class B felony and he could face 10 years in prison if he loses his deferment and probation.
Ka-Ne pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree robbery on June 18. His sentencing was delayed twice in order to testify in the trial of Mason Saio, who was the only co-defendant not to take a plea deal.
A jury failed to reach a verdict in Saio’s trial last December, resulting in a mistrial on charges of first-degree robbery, attempted second-degree theft and third-degree assault charges. Ka-Ne was to testify again at Saio’s re-trial on Aug. 19.
But Saio, 21, of Kalaheo, was reportedly armed and shot to death by police the late evening of Aug. 16 on the Nawiliwili jetty road.
In the first trial Ka-Ne testified that he was “punked” into agreeing to steal wine and cigarettes from the Chevron. He said they were highly intoxicated from a day of drinking.
Court-appointed defense attorney Caren Dennemeyer said the statement that Ka-Ne was the least culpable were the words of the probation department in the report. She said Ka-Ne was naive and did not know there would be knives, violence and theft of cash from the store on Jan. 4, 2012.
Ka-Ne cooperated with police once the deal was made and has performed exemplary on supervised release for over a year and a half, she said.
“Don’t give him any more jail time, your honor,” Dennemeyer said. “He has been on a very short leash.”
Ka Ne spoke at length in his statement to the court. He apologized to the store manager and to the company for his actions.
He also apologized to his family for the trouble he has brought on them. He thanked them for their help and support and credited his jail time for reflection on his poor choices.
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes, said the state did not recommend any more jail time for the defendant. He played a minor role in the crime and did not exhibit violence.
“I agree that he was the least culpable,” Mendes said.