No bail for man accused of attacking flight attendant

A 32-year-old Molokai man accused of twice punching a flight attendant on a Sept. 23 Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Hilo will remain in the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu without bail, at least for now.

In a Thursday morning hearing in Honolulu, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching told U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader that, according to a Pretrial Services report, there are “no conditions or combinations of conditions” that would assure Steven Sloan Jr.’s “appearance or safety of the community.”

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Ching said he was concerned about allegations the attack aboard Hawaiian Air Flight 152 was unprovoked and that Sloan admitted to recent drug use and mental health issues “which include at least admissions that he’s been hearing voices for the last two weeks.”

Federal Public Defender Salina Kanai told the judge Sloan “has absolutely zero criminal history — and that’s not a single arrest, much less any sort of conviction.”

Kanai said Sloan was born in Hawaii, has family here and has lived on Molokai for the past decade. She added Sloan lives in a rented place and is concerned “that if he’s in jail for a prolonged period of time, he will lose his residence.”

“We’re not asking for release on his own recognizance. We’re asking for release on conditions,” Kanai said. She said those conditions could be substance abuse counseling and mental health counseling, plus “GPS monitoring if necessary.”

Trader said factors that indicate Sloan may be appropriate for being released include “the lack of a record … and ties to the community.”

“The court, however, is very concerned with his current situation, most importantly, his current mental health condition,” the judge added. “… While the circumstances of this offense are alarming, what’s most concerning … is the nature of the alleged conduct in this case.”

He suggested the federal public defender work with Pretrial Services to find a “dual-diagnosis treatment setting that may be appropriate for Mr. Sloan” — meaning an inpatient facility that provides both mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Trader ruled that Sloan needs to be detained for now, saying there are “no current conditions that can reasonably assure his appearance” or “to mitigate any risk of danger he may pose to himself and to others in the community, if released.”

Trader ordered Sloan to appear for a bail review hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 14. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter.

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Sloan also is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 12, with Porter presiding.

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