LIHUE — A convicted felon who was found with 27 boxes of ammunition in his possession was sentenced to time served and probation by a Kauai judge Wednesday.
Benjamin Ammon Talshir, who was homeless at the time of his arrest, said he was just looking for a place to sleep when he trespassed onto someone’s property in April. When officers noticed him inside someone’s shed, they found him next to two Walmart bags, according to court testimony Wednesday.
Talshir told police the bags were his and that he did not have permission to be on the property when he decided to take a nap at the shed, according to reports.
Inside one of the bags, officers found 27 boxes of ammunition, a bag of loose ammunition and two rifle magazines, according to reports. The total value was $405, according to the property owner’s estimates.
Officers conducted a background check and found Talshir had prior convictions. In 2012, he was convicted of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. He was also convicted of abuse of a family or household member. A convicted felon is prohibited from owning, possessing or controlling a firearm or ammunition, according to state law.
Prosecutors charged Talshir with possession of firearms, simple trespass and second-degree theft for the 27 boxes of ammunition.
Talshir first went to the District Court of the Fifth Circuit where he underwent a mental health evaluation. Doctors found him fit to proceed. His case then proceeded to circuit court.
In a report, officers said the bag with the ammunition was stuffed inside Talshir’s Walmart bag.
But Public Defender John Calma disputed the fact that the ammunition bag was inside his client’s bag, and said the firearms charge should not have even made it to the complaint.
“He had his own personal Walmart bag,” Calma said. “Also in the garage was a Walmart bag that contained ammunition and magazines. I wish there was body cam on that officer, because officers noticed ammunition and magazines and bullets. He had no reasons or purpose for having that, but nevertheless they charged him with possession of firearms.”
The firearms charge was eventually dropped by prosecutors and a second-degree theft charge was reduced to third-degree theft, a misdemeanor.
Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe noted the progress Talshir had made since he had been released on supervised release earlier this year.
Talshir has sought treatment for his mental health problems and found a place to call home, Calma told the court. He had already served five months in jail on the alleged firearms charge before accepting a plea from the state, Calma said.
On Wednesday, the state recommended Talshir be sentenced to one-year probation.
While addressing counsels, Watanabe noted that there would be no need to have Talshir start all over again.
“I don’t see the purpose of pulling you out of where you are,” Watanabe told him. “You are receiving counseling. You have a roof over your head.”
Calma concurred and said if Talshir were to serve more time, it would undo any progress he had made toward his mental health treatment. Talshir was seeing counselors at least three times a week, he told the court.
Talshir thanked the court for allowing him to go on supervised release, get housing and treatment.
Aside from probation and time served, Talshir will also have to pay a $100 fine for simple trespass.