Sunday, January 28, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 28, 2001

Special-education teen charged as adult in violent rampage

By William Cole
Advertiser Courts Writer

A special-education teen accused of taking part in a violent rampage at a Kalihi Jack in the Box and then robbing a 7-Eleven store is being charged as an adult.

A family court judge last week waived jurisdiction despite defense arguments by attorney Keith Shigetomi that 17-year-old Dusti Liupaono is childlike, wants help for his problems and has the best chance of rehabilitation through the family court system.

However, city deputy prosecutor Mark Yuen said Liupaono’s record includes theft and dealing crack cocaine in Chinatown, and now he is accused of taking part in the Nov. 19 attack on motorists at the Jack in the Box and later being the stick-up man in the robbery of a Kailua 7-Eleven store.

In approving the state’s waiver request, Family Court Judge Kenneth Enright said Liupaono may not be sophisticated, but "he has a sophistication and maturity in his criminal behavior which is, unfortunately, beyond his years."

Liupaono will be charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree robbery, which carry maximum 20-year prison terms, and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

The state is seeking to charge another 17-year-old as an adult in the Nov. 19 crime, while two other men, Lelauti M. Sakaria, 19, and Jason A. Deere, 20, are scheduled to stand trial the week of April 16 on charges of first-degree robbery. Sakaria also is charged with kidnapping.

Police say the robbers started their rampage at the Jack in the Box at 2317 N. School St. at 1:30 a.m. "They had decided to car-jack somebody," Yuen said.

After attempting to break into several cars, the group attacked a couple and stole their Subaru, according to reports. While the other 17-year-old "sat on" a female passenger, Liupaono and the two others dragged the male driver from the car and beat him, Yuen said.

Eventually, the man and woman were able to get away from the attackers, police said. Later, around 4 a.m., the four decided to rob a Kailua 7-Eleven, Yuen said.

"He (Liupaono) went into the store. He was the one who went up to the cashier and threatened her," Yuen said. "He was the one holding a clublike instrument as if he would hit her." Police say the Pearl City Chevron station was hit at 5 a.m.

Liupaono, who has a "serious problem" with alcohol and functions at the fourth grade math level, twice was sent to Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, but was well-behaved while on medication for his lack of focus, Shigetomi said.

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