Friday, Dec. 08, 2023|
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A 19-year-old man who allegedly held his ex-girlfriend in his car against her will as he was driving recently followed her to Hilo from Arizona, a prosecutor said Friday.
David John Erlenbach is charged with kidnapping, two counts of felony domestic abuse, second-degree terroristic threatening and harassment by stalking.
Police say the 19-year-old woman reported that about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, she made several failed attempts to get out of Erlenbach’s car as he held her inside the vehicle. She told officers that while on Kinoole Street near the intersection with Lanikaula Street, she was able to unlock the door, get out of the car and immediately began yelling for help, which resulted in nearby residents calling police as Erlenbach allegedly drove away.
Erlenbach was arrested at about 1:35 a.m. at the Waiakea Villas apartment complex, according to a police log.
At Erlenbach’s initial appearance Friday, defense attorney Brian De Lima asked Hilo District Judge Dakota Frenz to reduce his client’s $66,000 bail to $30,000.
De Lima argued that prosecutors erred by charging Erlenbach with Class A felony kidnapping, saying the alleged victim was released “without serious or substantial bodily injury,” which should instead be a Class B felony.
“I don’t believe any of the (court) documents … indicate serious or substantial bodily injury,” De Lima told the judge.
De Lima also noted that Erlenbach’s father was in the courtroom and the intention was to waive a preliminary hearing and have him take his son back to Yuma, Ariz., pending proceedings in Hilo Circuit Court.
“There’s no reason for him to be here,” De Lima said. “He has no job. The place that he’s living, the lease is expired. In fact, the landlord doesn’t want him back there. I think everybody’s interest would be served (by a bail reduction). Mr. Erlenbach could then be in the state of Arizona while this matter is pending a resolution.”
Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Shiigi asked Frenz to maintain Erlenbach’s bail, and said he “poses a flight risk” and is “a danger to the public.”
“He allegedly followed the victim here from Arizona only about a month ago,” Shiigi said. “… The defendant allegedly restrained and assaulted the victim while he was driving his car on public roadways. The victim … notes she had previously ended a two-year relationship with defendant and there have been prior incidents of abuse by the defendant against the alleged victim in Arizona.”
“As to priors?” the judge inquired.
“He has no prior convictions in Hawaii; could not verify any prior convictions outside of Hawaii,” Shiigi replied.
Frenz told De Lima she agrees it might be best that a preliminary hearing be waived while a resolution of the case is negotiated, but said it would be more appropriate to determine if the evidence warrants a bail reduction at a preliminary hearing.
The judge maintained Erlenbach’s bail and ordered him to return at 2 p.m. Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
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