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Police chase suspect sentenced up to 5 years

KEALAKEKUA — A Hilo man was sentenced to an indeterminate period of five years in prison after pleading no contest to charges stemming from a 2018 police chase that lasted several hours.

On Friday morning, Harvey Damo Jr., 26, appeared in Kona Circuit Court, where he was sentenced for the high-speed pursuit in July, as well as resentencing for three previous criminal cases where he violated probation.

Per the agreement, Damo pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. Following Rule 11 of the court, the state, defense and Kona Circuit Judge Robert D.S. Kim agreed to follow the terms including punishment, which requires Damo to serve a minimum of one year and eight months.

In reading the facts of the case, Deputy Prosecutor Kate Perazich said the defendant risked many lives including his own.

“He paralyzed the community and directly threatened the lives of two officers,” she said.

On July 19, Damo fled from police from a housing complex in the Kahaluu area and eluded capture for hours. He was found about 11 p.m. that night in South Kona on foot with two gunshot wounds to the arm.

Damo, who was 25 years old at the time of the incident, was found to have been operating a truck stolen from the Spectrum baseyard.

In 2015, 2017 and January 2018, Damo pleaded guilty to various Class C felonies and misdemeanors to which he received probation. On Friday, Kim revoked bail for those previous criminal cases and Damo was resentenced to an indeterminate period of five years. All sentences will be served concurrently.

Hawaii Island police began investigating Damo after hearing reports that Justin Waiki, a suspected cop killer who was eventually shot and killed during a shootout with police July 20, was seen in his truck earlier in the day July 19.

An islandwide manhunt had been underway since July 17 after Waiki shot and killed Officer Bronson Kaliloa along Highway 11 in Mountain View. Police reached out to the public asking for tips in hopes of apprehending the 33-year-old.

According to authorities at the time, they received information that Waiki was seen inside Damo’s truck in the Walmart parking lot off Henry Street in Kailua-Kona. Officers eventually tracked the truck to Ka Hale Kailua Housing off of Makolea Street near Keauhou.

A vehicle pursuit ensued, which led police to the Napoopoo and Painted Church Road areas.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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