Man sentenced in officer assault

LIHUE — A Kilauea man accused of assaulting three police officers was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday.

Ray Harada, 44, appeared before Judge Randal Valenciano on three charges — assault against a law enforcement officer, bail jumping and terroristic threatening — stemming from a 2014 incident on New Year’s Eve where he is accused of kidnapping, restraining and holding a woman against her will. Nine days later, he is said to have kidnapped the woman again, records show.

He was charged with first-degree robbery and two counts of kidnapping. In June 2015, the court granted Harada supervised release, but he didn’t show up for his trial in September. Valenciano issued a bench warrant, and he was charged with bail jumping and contempt of court. Bail jumping is a class C felony and contempt of court is a misdemeanor.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Valenciano told Harada he gave him a chance to turn his life around when he put him under supervised release.

“You were on the track for probation,” he said. “When defendants get released, there’s a risk it wouldn’t work. I let you out, and then all this extra stuff happened. You got extra charges, including attacking police officers.”

On Sept. 29, 2015, Kauai police officers found Harada with the victim from the New Year’s Eve incident at a campsite down a steep hillside at the end of North Waiakula Road, near Pilaa Beach.

When officers tried to restrain him, “he recklessly and intentionally resisted by violently pulling and twisting” from officers, according to records. He ended up pulling one of the officers down the hill with him, although he had just been tased.

The officer who was holding onto Harada’s legs fell “and hit his face on what may have been a rock” during the struggle, records showed. The officers were able to place Harada in handcuffs by connecting two different handcuffs together in front of him, but Harada continued to twist and pull violently until he pulled another officer 20 feet into thick brush, records showed.

Another officer continued his hold on Harada even after sliding down the hillside, until Harada bit the officer’s right hand, records showed. Harada continued sliding down the hill, and escaped into thick brush.

Officers sustained multiple injuries during the struggle including, lacerations on arms, hands, bitten and gouged finger, bloody nose and cuts to the right shin areas, records showed.

On Oct. 7, officers found Harada at Rock Quarry Beach. He tried to flee, but was captured.

In that case, Harada was charged with three counts of first-degree assault against a law enforcement officer, first-degree escape, and resisting arrest, class C felonies, a class B felony and a misdemeanor, respectively.

In July, Harada pleaded no contest to the charges after accepting a plea deal from the state.

On Thursday, Harada’s lawyer, Mark Zenger, told Valenciano he knows his client doesn’t deserve probation.

“It’s difficult to say he’s worthy of probation, and I don’t think he even thinks he is,” Zenger said.

Zenger said he didn’t have a set number of years in prison in mind, and he would agree to what the state and court thought was necessary.

Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney, said his office would have liked to have seen Harada be given a longer sentence. But issues, like the victim recanting her story, made it clear Harada could escape without consequence had they proceeded with trial.

“Rather than letting that happen, we got an outcome that will ensure Harada spends significant time in prison,” he said.

George White, deputy prosecuting attorney, said Harada is lucky he wasn’t shot by police during the scuffle.

“All parties are fortunate he’s still alive,” White said.

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