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Plea deal reached in Lihu‘e Sun Village barricade case

LIHU‘E — The man who triggered a six-hour police standoff at Sun Village in July 2022 has agreed to a plea deal.

Derek Hal Smith Bracken, 61, pleaded no contest at the state courthouse in Lihu‘e on Tuesday to charges of burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree assault and criminal property damage in the third degree for the incident, which hospitalized a 65-year-old resident of the condo complex.

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop additional charges of kidnapping and criminal trespassing.

Bracken could now face up to 16 years in state prison and a fine of $37,000. He will be sentenced at a hearing in March.

Prosecutors said this was the third police standoff that Bracken has caused in the past year at Sun Village — where both his on again, off again girlfriend and his mother live.

The most recent incident began at 11:30 p.m. on July 8 when Bracken — then out on supervised release — forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s Sun Village apartment without her permission.

“While inside, the defendant allegedly told (her) he was going to kill her and then kill himself by death-by-cop,” Deputy Prosecutor Jared Brickey wrote in a court document. “The defendant refused to let (the victim) leave for approximately 30-45 minutes, and held a knife to her neck while threatening her.”

Bracken stabbed the victim in the calf before she managed to escape the room. He then barricaded himself in the apartment and began to destroy the victim’s property.

A court document written by the victim, whose name The Garden Island has elected not to disclose due to privacy concerns, detailed the damage: “Derek barricaded himself in my home for an entire six hour standoff with KPD and their SWAT team,” she wrote.

“In (those) six hours, Derek destroyed my home by slashing my couch, lamp shades, art work, bed, mattress cover … clothes and shower curtains. He poured water and apple juice over my computer, desk, living room area and TV. He cut the cable and WiFi cords behind the TV. Forensics found my cellphone in the toilet.”

After six hours, 21 officers from the Kaua‘i Police Department, led by initial responding officer Aaron Lester and negotiator Stacy Perreira, were able to resolve the standoff.

“In this day and age in policing, having fully trained negotiators is a must to deal with these situations to give us the best chance for a peaceful outcome. I truly believe it saves many lives and also helps keep our officers and community safe,” said Crisis Negotiations Team Commander Kennison Nagahisa.

Nagahisa praised Lester and Perreira’s “ability to communicate and build a positive rapport with someone suffering from a mental crisis” during the incident, for which they were honored as employees of the month.

According to prosecutors, Bracken has a long rap sheet, with 10 criminal convictions to his name, including for harassment, property damage and assault.

On Sept. 14, 2021, Bracken allegedly locked his mother out of her own apartment, screamed at his ex-girlfriend and brandished a kitchen knife. Nine police department officers responded and were able to convince him to leave the apartment.

One week later, he allegedly returned to his mother’s apartment, shattered a glass table and barricaded himself inside. Fifteen officers responded to the incident, and led by detective Brian Silva, were able to resolve the situation peacefully.

Bracken’s attorney requested on Tuesday that he be released to participate in an addiction treatment program. The court denied the request because they believed Bracken still posed a danger to the community.

•••

Guthrie
Scrimgeour,
reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or gscrimgeour@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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