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Maui mayor death threat charge dismissed

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:36 p.m. HST, Jan 16, 2014

WAILUKU » A judge has dismissed a case against a man charged with threatening to kill Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

But prosecutors are expected to refile the terroristic-threatening charge against Austin Gerard Jr., the Maui News reported.

Gerard, 25, was indicted in 2012 after a woman reported seeing him carrying a knife near the county building on June 12 of that year. Police said that when she asked him what he was doing with the knife, he told her he was going to "murder the mayor." The woman called 911.

He was seen in security footage going to the ninth floor to Arakawa's office, but he left when his secretary said the mayor wasn't in yet.

Deputy Public Defender William "Pili" McGrath sought to dismiss the case because a trial hadn't started within six months of the indictment. Judge Rhonda Loo dismissed the charge Wednesday, but she's allowing prosecutors to pursue it again.

After Gerard left the mayor's office, police arrested him at his Wailuku home and then took him to Maui Memorial Medical Center for a mental-health evaluation. Police said a kitchen knife with a 6-inch blade was recovered near Gerard at his home.

"Since that time, Mr. Gerard has been in mental-health counseling and is always compliant with his medication, which he wasn't at the time," McGrath said.

At the time, Arakawa said a threat from a knife-wielding man wouldn't make him change his open-door policy.

"The mayor has always expressed nothing but sympathy for this young man," Rod Antone, a Maui County spokesman, said today. "We hope he gets the help he needs."

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