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Ex-con charged with sexually assaulting minor

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Keith Kapena Hulihee appears Thursday in Hilo District Court.

A 55-year-old Volcano man with a felony record dating back to 1987 is accused of sexually assaulting a minor.

Keith Kapena Hulihee is charged with second- and fourth-degree sexual assault of the same alleged victim. According to the complaint, Hulihee subjected the juvenile “to an act of sexual penetration by compulsion” on Dec. 30, and “to sexual contact by compulsion” on an unspecified date in September 2017. According to the complaint, Hulihee is a persistent offender subject to extended terms of imprisonment “for the protection of the public,” which could mean a possible 20-year prison term upon conviction instead of the usual maximum of 10 years for second-degree sexual assault, a Class B felony.

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Police issued a public wanted bulletin on Jan. 2 noting a warrant for Hulihee’s arrest. Hulihee turned himself in Monday, according to court documents.

At Hulihee’s initial court appearance Thursday, his court-appointed attorney, Melody Parker, asked that Hulihee be freed on supervised release or that his bail be reduced from $30,000, which she called “excessive,” to $11,000, noting Hulihee has been a Big Island resident his entire life.

“Granted, he has been out of circulation for awhile, but at the same time, he is able to appear in court as directed and will certainly do so,” Parker said.

Deputy Prosecutor Evans Smith objected to supervised release or a bail reduction, noting 12 prior contempt of court convictions, a protective order violation and his prior felony record.

“Here, the defendant has four prior felony convictions, including a felon in possession (of ammunition), a B felony in 2013. He also has a promoting dangerous drugs in the third-degree conviction. Before that, he had two prior felony convictions. … Those would be the basis for the high bail.”

Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach maintained Hulihee’s bail at $30,000 and ordered him to return at 2 p.m. Monday for a preliminary hearing.

On April 5, 2013, Hulihee was sentenced to five years in prison on the charges noted by Smith. That conviction stemmed from an Aug. 19, 2012, incident in Mauna Loa Estates subdivision where police responded to Hulihee’s home after receiving reports of shots being fired in the area.

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Hulihee told police he had an explosive device in his possession and wanted to turn it over. Officers found the item and, evacuated nearby residents and called in U.S. Marines explosive ordnance disposal personnel, who determined the device was a military gas canister that didn’t pose any danger.

A search warrant on Hulihee’s property did, however, turn up ammunition and drugs.