Norman Akana Jr. is facing a decade in prison

LIHUE — A man police say robbed First Hawaiian Bank on Rice Street earlier this month is facing 10 years in prison.

Norman Akana Jr. appeared before Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Monday on one count of robbery in the second degree, a Class B felony, after police say he approached a teller and demanded cash.

During the proceedings, he pleaded no contest.

As part of a plea agreement, he is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in prison, which is the maximum sentence for a Class B felony. As part of that agreement, he will also be required to stay away from First Hawaiian Bank, Watanabe said.

Akana, 42, is accused of entering the bank on May 4 and handing to a teller a white paper bag and a note reading “have money, please fill.”

The teller said he grabbed bundles of paper money of different denominations and put it in the bag.

Akana fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was arrested later that night at a home in Niumalu and remains at the Kauai Community Correctional Center on $150,000 bail.

His attorney, Melinda Mendes, said she plans on filing a motion to suppress evidence as the case proceeds, but she told Akana to go ahead and enter his no-contest plea.

“My client wanted to accept responsibility on this case,” she said.

At the time of the robbery, Akana was wanted on a $50,000 bench warrant in an unrelated arson case. He has twice been placed on early work release from probation, the most recent being in January, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

He has been on probation since a 2012 arson case, in which he is accused of setting fire to a victim’s property, causing more than $20,000 damage.

He is set to be sentenced in both the arson and robbery cases on Aug. 23.

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