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Couple charged with robbery released by judge

A Hilo man and woman charged with robbery for allegedly assaulting a Home Depot employee who attempted to stop them from shoplifting $1,460 in merchandise were freed Friday by a judge without having to post bail.

Jordan Feary, 33, and Taelilynn Leslie, 19, were set for a preliminary hearing, but their lawyers — Deputy Public Defender Jeff Ng for Feary and court-appointed attorney Stanton Oshiro for Leslie — asked Hilo District Judge Robert Crudele to postpone the hearing until Oct. 15 to allow them to review surveillance video of the incident.

Crudele granted the postponement. Despite the objection of Deputy Prosecutor Roland Talon, the judge also granted motions by both defense lawyers to set their clients free on court-supervised release without cash bail.

Feary — who, according to court documents, has four previous felony convictions — is charged with first- and second-degree robbery, first-degree theft, attempted second-degree theft, three counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving without a license.

Leslie, who was allowed on Sept. 25 to defer a no contest plea in a second-degree theft case, is facing charges of first- and second-degree robbery, attempted first-degree theft and attempted second-degree theft.

The first-degree robbery and first-degree theft charges were enhanced charges because of the emergency declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feary’s original bail of $131,000 and Leslie’s $45,000 original bail were maintained by Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach on Sept. 30.

According to court documents filed by police, on Sept. 19 the pair attempted to leave the store with a shopping cart full of unpaid merchandise but was confronted by a store associate. Documents state the associate grabbed the cart and held on despite the pair struggling for control.

Leslie allegedly struck the woman employee twice with an elbow, according to a store detective.

The couple left the store without the merchandise and fled, police said.

A cellphone was allegedly left in the cart, according to documents, and the store detective allegedly discovered contacts and texts referring to possible drug sales, photos of guns, and stolen Milwaukee tools before turning the phone over to police.

On Sept. 29, Feary was arrested on a traffic stop near Hilo Yacht Club, allegedly driving the same vehicle used in the Sept. 19 incident. Officers searched the car, allegedly finding drug paraphernalia and heroin residue.

Leslie was taken into custody the following day, police said.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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