Custody interference suspect to receive mental exam

A 34-year-old Pahoa woman allegedly involved in a brief gunfight with police last week in a custodial interference case will receive a court-ordered mental exam.

Calla RGM Weddington will be assessed by a panel of three mental health professionals to determine her fitness to stand trial. The examination, according to court records, will not include the issue of criminal liability, which is whether Weddington understood the unfair and illegal nature of her alleged actions at the time of the incident.

Weddington is charged with custodial interference, first degree unlawful imprisonment, domestic abuse, second degree assault and first degree attempted assault on a police officer.

In her initial court appearance Tuesday, Hilo District Judge Mahilani Hiatt ordered the mental exam, with no objection from Assistant District Attorney Georgia Berrenberg. However, Berrenberg opposed a motion by Assistant Public Defender Arthur Indiola to release Weddington on supervised release, a form of cashless bail, and Hiatt denied the motion.

The judge ordered Weddington back in court on July 25, but Weddington was indicted Wednesday, moving her case to the courtroom of Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto.

Weddington remains in custody at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center on $7,500 bond.

According to court documents filed by police, Weddington removed his 9-year-old daughter from a public charter school in Hilo in violation of a Family Court order granting temporary full physical custody of the girl to her father.

Officers responding May 24 to Weddington’s home on Lehua Drive in the Ainaloa Estates subdivision saw the mother and daughter inside the home with the girl “crying hysterically,” according to the documents.

The officers advised Weddington twice to open the door of the house and she allegedly refused, shouting “no.” When officers asked the girl if she wanted to leave the house, the girl herself replied “yes,” according to the documents.

Police say Weddington then yelled at the officers to leave or she would stab them.

Sergeant Matthew Lewis opened the front door, which was unlocked, according to the documents, and was reportedly met by a knife-wielding Weddington who lunged at him “in a very aggressive manner.”

Lewis backed away, yelled “Knife! Knife! Knife!” According to the documents, and he drew the gun on him without firing. Weddington eventually left the house without the knife and turned himself in to police.

The girl suffered minor knife wounds to her forearm and chest, which she told officers were caused by her mother, according to the documents. The minor received medical assistance at the scene and was later handed over to the custody of her father.

The charges of first degree unlawful imprisonment, second degree assault, and attempted first degree assault of a police officer are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. The custodial interference and domestic abuse charges are misdemeanors, and convictions carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Weddington has no criminal record.

Email John Burnett at [email protected].