Martin’s First Court Appearance Short; Hearing Set for Jan. 31
by Dave Smith
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for the end of the month for a Hilo man accused of shooting two police officers on Jan. 2.
Keaka Daniel Martin, 31, made his initial court appearance today in Hilo District Court.
The bearded Martin was brought into court shackled and in a wheelchair pushed by a sheriff’s deputy.
Another half-dozen deputies were already in the courtroom sparsely attended except for court officials and a handful of media.
Martin’s demeanor appeared subdued, and he did not speak during the court proceedings except for a quiet discussion with his court-appointed attorney, Steve Strauss.
Strauss asked Judge David Kuwahara for additional time to prepare for Martin’s case, saying he had been assigned to it just minutes before. Strauss said Martin would waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 48 hours of his initial court appearance.
Kuwahara granted the request and set the hearing for Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. Prosecutors will present evidence including witness testimony at that hearing, the purpose of which is to determine whether enough evidence exists to bind Martin over for trial.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Glenn Shiigi asked the judge to continue Martin’s no-bail status because of the severe penalties Martin faces. Kuwahara granted the request, noting that Martin poses a “severe risk of flight.”
The offenses Martin has been charged with include two counts of first-degree attempted murder, which carry a sentence of life in prison without parole.
The judge also granted a request from Strauss that a bail study be done.
Strauss told Big Island Now that although the charges Martin faces carry a presumption of being held without bail, the study will help determine whether bail might be granted in the future.
The day after his arrest on Jan. 3 Martin was also charged with seven other offenses, most involving firearms, in connection with the Jan. 2 shooting incident. Since then, until his discharge from the hospital this morning, he has been under treatment at Hilo Medical Center for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Strauss told the court that Martin may need to return to the hospital for additional treatment.
The two police officers allegedly shot by Martin have since been discharged from the hospital.