Islandwide crime spree perpetrator sentenced

A Kailua-Kona man who pleaded guilty to 21 out of 43 charges in connection to a 2019 islandwide crime spree was sentenced Tuesday in Kona Circuit Court.

Judge Robert D.S. Kim sentenced Joshua D. Hams terms from five to 20 years for the charges for a total of 80 years. The sentences run concurrently, meaning they are served at the same time with the longest period dictating.

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Hams received two 20 year sentences with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

He was also ordered to pay restitution to victims totaling $4,120 and owes the crime victims compensation fund $2,205.

Sentencing had been delayed for Hams in connection with the crime spree that ended in a standoff at a Holualoa home.

Hams appeared in August before Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim for sentencing in connection with the string of incidents in August 2019; however, the hearing was continued after Deputy Public Defender James P. Greenberg notified the court that Hams may be wanted on a U.S. District Court warrant of arrest.

According to federal court records, a six-count criminal complaint against Hams in connection with incidents on Aug. 21, 2019 was filed Dec. 17, 2019, in U.S. District Court. The document accuses Ham of two counts interference with commerce by robbery; two counts use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and two counts felon in possession of a firearm.

The U.S. district court dismissed the charges and Hams was sentenced on Tuesday.

In a plea deal with the state, Hams pleaded no contest on June 25 to 21 of the 43 charges filed against him in connection with the incidents on Aug. 21, 2019, that spanned from Hilo to Ka‘u to Kona.

According to court records, Hams pleaded no contest to three counts first-degree robbery, one count carrying a firearm in commission of a separate felony, three counts ownership or possession prohibited, seven counts second-degree criminal property damage, three counts first-degree terroristic threatening, and one count each first-degree criminal property damage, unauthorized entry in dwelling and second-degree theft.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop five of the nine class A felonies, four of nine class B felonies, eight of the 20 class C felonies and all five misdemeanors.

The reported islandwide crime spree began 9:20 a.m. Aug. 21, 2019, in Hilo with a report of a “mentally unstable” man brandishing a shotgun. That continued to Naalehu where the man, later identified as Hams, reportedly stole a state Highways Division vehicle and later robbed a Honaunau gas station at gunpoint.

Around noon, Hams allegedly fired shots in Kalaoa and then proceeded to the Kona Commons area where he reportedly shot out a door at the AT&T Store and also stole merchandise. Upon fleeing, Hams reportedly hit multiple vehicles on Kuakini Highway, stole another vehicle at the Lako Street Shell gas station and eventually abandoned that vehicle and barricaded himself at a private residence in Holualoa before surrendering to police.

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On Monday, Hams was charged via felony information with one count of first-degree promoting prison contraband, one count of second-degree promoting prison contraband, one count second-degree promoting a dangerous drug and one count of third degree promoting a harmful drug. If convicted of all charges he faces an additional 30 year prison sentence.

Hams remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

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