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Not guilty pleas entered in Puako robbery

KEALAKEKUA — A Hilo man and woman have pleaded not guilty in connection to charges related to a reported robbery in the Puako area last month.

Aaron Melim, 34, and Rhyan Rickman, 27, entered their pleas Wednesday in Kona Circuit Court. A jury trial is scheduled for June 4.

Melim faces charges of second-degree robbery, accomplice to unauthorized entry into a vehicle and second-degree assault. Rickman was charged with robbery, accomplice to second-degree robbery, accomplice to second-degree assault and accomplice to unauthorized entry into a vehicle.

The charges stem from a reported robbery that occurred Jan. 7 near the Puako boat ramp in South Kohala. A third suspect is still at large.

Melim and Rickman were located Jan. 10 in the Papaikou area and charged the following day after a search warrant on the vehicle they were found in revealed stolen property from the alleged victim.

The pair are being detained at Hawaii Community Correctional Center on $9,000 bail each. Kona Circuit Judge Robert D.S. Kim ordered updated bail studies for both suspects.

The victim took the stand during a preliminary hearing in January, recounting the incident. He told the court he went to meet with Rickman, a friend who asked for gas money. But when they arrived at an empty lot near the boat ramp, two men got out of the backseat of Rickman’s car.

The victim testified he was assaulted and “left for dead” by two men and a woman. During the incident, the victim’s car was entered and items were removed, including a Vans backpack, CD deck, work belt and a cellphone.

The victim was hospitalized at North Hawaii Community Hospital. He suffered a fractured bone above his right eye and a laceration on the head.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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