Kaua‘i man gets 10-year sentence in Sun Village barricade case

  • Courtesy of the Kaua‘i Police Department

    Derek Bracken Smith

LIHU‘E — A Lihu‘e man, who stabbed his ex-girlfriend and triggered a six-hour police standoff at the Sun Village condo complex last summer, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Appearing before the Fifth Circuit Court in Lihu‘e on Thursday, Derek Smith Bracken, 61, expressed remorse for the attack.

“I stand here responsible for my actions, and understand there are consequences for those actions,” he told the court.

Bracken pleaded guilty this January to charges of burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree and criminal property damage in the third degree for the standoff.

According to court documents, the incident began at 11:30 p.m. on July 8, 2022, when Bracken forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s Sun Village apartment without her permission.

He held his girlfriend, whose name The Garden Island won’t disclose in order to protect her privacy, in the apartment for more than half an hour. During that time, he put a knife to her neck and threatened to kill her.

She managed to escape the room, but not before Bracken stabbed her in the calf, causing lasting nerve damage. He then barricaded himself in her apartment and began to destroy her property — slashing her couch, artwork and bed, pouring apple juice over her electronics, and throwing her cellphone in the toilet.

After six hours, 21 officers from the Kaua‘i Police Department were able to resolve the standoff peacefully. This was the third police standoff that Bracken had caused in the past two years at Sun Village, where both his ex-girlfriend and his mother live.

Speaking to the court on Thursday, Bracken’s ex-girlfriend described the incident as “extremely scary and traumatizing,” and detailed a history of financial and physical abuse, including incidents that were not addressed in the sentence.

“I hope you will think about the impact you had on me physically and emotionally,” she told Bracken.

The victim said she didn’t know why Bracken had abused her and caused the standoffs.

“I loved you and believed we were going to get married,” she said. “I thought I understood you and wanted to help you.”

She continued, “I’m so worried if you’re released you’re going to try to kill me again.”

Highlighting his history of mental health issues and the fact that he had been a victim of abuse himself, public defender Marisa Agena advocated that Bracken be put on probation.

In the two weeks leading up to the standoff, Agena said Bracken had checked himself into the hospital five separate times.

“He’s asking for the chance to get the mental health and substance abuse treatment he needs,” she said.

Deputy Prosecutor Jared Brickey responded that the prosecutors “would ask for probation if (they) thought he could handle probation,” and emphasized that this represented a culmination of several cases.

Judge Randal Valenciano ruled in favor of the prosecution, saying there were “a number of things that disturbed the court” about the case, including a report that Bracken was attempting to commit “suicide by cop” during the incident.

He imposed an open 10-year sentence for the burglary charge, a five-year sentence for the assault charge, and a one-year sentence for property damage, along with more than $7,000 in restitution payments.

Valenciano ruled the sentences would be served concurrently, meaning Bracken could serve a maximum of 10 years total.


Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or gscrimgeour@thegardenisland.com.


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