Man found guilty of threat­en­ing woman with knife

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE - Staff Writer By LILA FUJIMOTO

WAILUKU — A for­mer ten­ant who was seen point­ing and wav­ing a knife in a slash­ing mo­tion at a woman out­side her Haiku home was found guilty Thursday of a felony threat­en­ing charge.

A 2nd Cir­cuit Court jury de­lib­er­ated for about an hour be­fore re­turn­ing the verdict, con­vict­ing Donald McFee, 33, of first-de­gree ter­ror­is­tic threat­en­ing.

“He pointed that knife,” Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Car­son Tani said in his clos­ing ar­gu­ments to ju­rors Thursday morn­ing. “He waved it in front of her face. He’s yelling and scream­ing and swear­ing at her.”

Home­owner Deb­o­rah Wal­trip said she and a ten­ant had been up­stairs watch­ing tele­vi­sion when she heard a com­mo­tion and went out­side at 7:25 p.m. May 15. “The geese were honk­ing, and I heard yelling,” she tes­ti­fied.

Wal­trip, who walks with a crutch, said she saw some­one crouched be­tween a trailer and car parked out­side the fence of her prop­erty. When she went closer and saw it was McFee, “I told him he needed to leave im­me­di­ately,” she said.

She said McFee ig­nored her and was yelling and swear­ing when she called the po­lice non­emer­gency num­ber. Wal­trip said she was about 3 feet away when “he pulled out a huge knife and waved it.”

After about 5 sec­onds, Wal­trip said McFee put the knife back into a holder on his belt and walked down the street to her garage, where Wal­ter Gou­veia was liv­ing. Wal­trip said her other ten­ant was keep­ing an eye on McFee, who knocked on Gou­veia’s door.

About a half-hour ear­lier, Gou­veia had run into McFee at a Haiku laun­dro­mat, Tani said. When McFee said he wanted to visit Gou­veia, “im­me­di­ately Wal­ter told the de­fen­dant, ‘No, that’s not a good idea. You’re not wel­come. You still owe Deb­o­rah money,’ ’’ Tani said dur­ing clos­ing ar­gu­ments to ju­rors Thursday morn­ing.

When McFee ap­peared at the garage, Gou­veia again said he wasn’t wel­come, Tani said.

McFee left the garage area and be­gan walk­ing back up the road, stay­ing on the side of the street clos­est to Wal­trip’s house, Tani said.

Wal­trip was stand­ing about 1 foot back from her gate when McFee walked up and waved the 10- to 12-inch knife about 2 to 3 feet from her face, she said.

“He’s yelling, some Hawai­ian, some English, and swear­ing a lot,” Wal­trip said.

She said she backed up “be­cause I was scared.”

For 10 to 15 sec­onds, she said McFee pointed the knife at her chest and face and was swing­ing it back and forth.

“Were you con­cerned at all?” Tani asked.

“Yes, very,” Wal­trip said. “I was ter­ri­fied.”

McFee had been a ten­ant at her res­i­dence for about six months be­fore he was given no­tice to leave, which he did in March, Wal­trip said.

De­fense at­tor­ney Jon Apo, in his clos­ing ar­gu­ment, said there was con­flict­ing tes­ti­mony by Wal­trip and Gou­veia. Apo also said there was a “lack of ev­i­dence,” ques­tion­ing why the pros­e­cu­tion hadn’t pre­sented the record­ing of Wal­trip’s call to po­lice.

“They throw two of the best pros­e­cu­tors in front of a jury and ask you to find him guilty,” Apo said.

Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Jef­fery Temas as­sisted Tani in the case.

Apo ques­tioned why an­other ten­ant, who was there through-

out the in­ci­dent, hadn’t been called to tes­tify. Wal­trip said the ten­ant had moved to Cal­i­for­nia.

“This is a trumped-up charge that at worst should be a dis­or­derly con­duct case or a tres­pass­ing case,” Apo said.

Tani said three peo­ple had each twice told McFee to leave,

“and he ig­nores it each time.”

“He does what he wants to do,” Tani said.

McFee, who gave no lo­cal ad­dress, posted $6,000 bail to be re­leased from jail. He is sched­uled to be sen­tenced May 23 on the charge, which car­ries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Judge Rhonda Loo presided over the trial, which be­gan Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to court records, a $25,000 bench war­rant was is­sued last month for McFee, who is charged with two counts of felony abuse in an­other case. McFee ad­mit­ted to mar­i­juana and metham­phetamine use in De­cem­ber, ac­cord­ing to an affidavit filed in the abuse case.

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