Home invasion trial gets underway

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Two women took the witness stand Monday and described a night of fear when armed intruders interrupted a Memorial Day gathering two years ago at a Hawaiian Paradise Park home.

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Two women took the witness stand Monday and described a night of fear when armed intruders interrupted a Memorial Day gathering two years ago at a Hawaiian Paradise Park home.

Loriella Fiesta and Aileen Navalta testified on the opening day of the jury trial of John Krause, who was reportedly at the home earlier in the evening, but left before the home invasion took place.

Krause is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening for allegedly robbing a craps game and a card game at gunpoint. The most serious charge, robbery, is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

According to court documents, the homeowner, Marlon Eugenio, told police he recognized Krause as one of the masked robbers by his voice.

The women said they were at the Eugenio family home in the early morning hours of May 28, 2013, playing a Filipino card game called “tongit” for small monetary stakes — “one dollar, two dollars” was Navalta’s description — when armed, masked intruders dressed in black came to the house on Ninth Avenue near Makuu Drive.

Fiesta said she saw two robbers, a man and a woman, while Navalta testified she saw four. The latter also said there was a craps game going on in an enclosed garage area at the home.

“We heard a loud bang, and everybody started running,” said Fiesta, who said she, Navalta and Navalta’s husband, Clem, locked themselves in a bathroom. “Aileen and I were in the tub, hiding.”

“I was petrified,” Fiesta added. She didn’t say what the bang was, but Navalta testified no shots were fired.

Both women said they heard pounding on the bathroom door and a woman’s voice.

“She pounded the second time and yelled, ‘Open the door or we’re gonna shoot,’” Navalta testified.

Navalta testified they came out of the bathroom and kept their heads mostly down as they were herded onto a living room couch. Navalta and Fiesta both testified the intruders wore masks.

“It looked like a paintball-kind mask,” Fiesta said. She said the man carried a shotgun.

Navalta said one of the intruders asked for the keys to a white car, which prosecutors say belongs to Lance Yamada, alleged to be one of the gamblers involved in the craps game, which Deputy Prosecutor Jack Matsukawa said was for “thousands of dollars.”

Navalta said the intruder then took the keys to her family car from a table, but didn’t drive away with the vehicle after another man sitting on the couch tossed the intruder the keys to his truck.

Navalta said she didn’t know the man on the couch, but court documents identify him as Jarret Kaneshiro.

In her opening statement, defense attorney Kanani Laubach said police didn’t recover a weapon, money or latent fingerprints to link Krause to the crime.

She added there “is not enough evidence” to convict Krause — the father of Kawena Krause and uncle of Claude Keone Krause, both serving life sentences for the December 2012 murder of Dante Peter Gilman in Hawaiian Acres.

“Show me the money,” Laubach said, appropriating a catchphrase from the movie “Jerry Maguire.”

“That amount of money that was there. Where is it?”

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The trial is expected to continue today before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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