Dec. 8-A 37-year-old man was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for assaulting and seriously injuring two correctional officers at the Federal Detention Center Honolulu while he was in custody awaiting trial on another charge.
A 37-year-old man was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for assaulting and seriously injuring two correctional officers at the Federal Detention Center Honolulu while he was in custody awaiting trial on another charge.
David Akui-Cabanilla III entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that required him to plead guilty to two counts of assault on a federal officer causing bodily injury. In exchange, prosecutors did not charge him for a March 23, 2020, assault on a correctional officer and an April 1, 2020, assault on a fellow inmate.
U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi sentenced Akui-Cabanilla to 84 months Tuesday for assaults that left one officer unconscious in a pool of his own blood and another with cuts to his face and wounds to his head on March 23, 2020. Akui-Cabanilla had been detained prior to trial on a separate federal charge for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Kobayashi ordered the 84-month sentence be served consecutive to a 34-month sentence she imposed on March 8, 2022, for Akui-Cabanilla's firearm conviction, according to a release from the U.S. attorney's office.
"While we have recently prosecuted a few correctional officers for violating the civil rights of an inmate, other correctional officers are lawfully protecting our community from incarcerated inmates, " said Hawaii's U.S. Attorney Clare Connors, in a statement. "This was nothing short of a vicious, premeditated attack on several of those correctional officers, and such conduct warrants the additional imprisonment imposed."
In January 2020 community members called Honolulu police after they saw Akui-Cabanilla in the Waia kamilo Shopping Center parking lot with a loaded.45-caliber Smith &Wesson revolver tucked into his waistband and a 20-inch-long cane knife in his right hand, with the blade tucked under his arm to conceal it, according to court documents.
Once in custody, he apparently made two weapons in preparation for the attack and escape attempt on March 23, 2020. One was a long tube sock tied to the loop of a locked metal padlock, according to the plea agreement. The other was a shiv formed from a razor blade with a piece of bed sheet tied around one end, simulating a handle.
Akui-Cabanilla walked into the office of a correctional officer in his housing unit and hit him in the head with the metal padlock. He then took the officer's keys and pepper spray and ran for the door leading out of the housing unit, according to the agreement. Another correctional officer saw through a window into the unit what was happening and yelled at Akui-Cabanilla to stop but he ignored the commands.
As Akui-Cabanilla tried to unlock the door, other correctional officers opened it. He sprayed the officers in the face with pepper spray and then punched one of the officers on the side of his head, knocking him to the ground, the release said. There was a struggle before the officers were able to get Akui-Cabanilla under control.
The officer struck with the metal padlock was found unconscious and bloodied on the floor of the housing unit office. He was taken by ambulance to The Queen's Medical Center, where seven staples were needed to close lacerations on the left side of his head. His left eye was swollen shut. He was hospitalized for five days and also suffered a concussion and aspiration pneumonia. The guard Akui-Cabanilla punched in the head also was treated at Queen's. Two sutures were used to close wounds on his right eyebrow, according to the plea agreement.
Multiple officers sustained injuries requiring medical attention and ongoing physical therapy treatment. Kobayashi ordered Akui-Cabanilla to pay about $24, 500 in restitution for medical bills paid by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, according to the release.
The investigation was handled by FBI agents with the bureau's Honolulu Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib prosecuted the case for the government. Akui-Cabanilla's attorney, Benjamin R.C. Ignacio, did not immediately reply to Honolulu Star-Advertiser requests for comment.