Attempted Murder Trial Ends with Misdemeanor Assault Conviction

LIHUE, HAWAII—An Attempted Murder trial that began with jury selection on Monday, October 23, 2017 ended with a no contest plea to and sentencing for misdemeanor assault yesterday. The resolution was reached after police witnesses and a surgeon testified on Tuesday, but the government’s final witness, Sean Wade, failed to appear in court to testify on Wednesday morning. Attorney Craig De Costa, of De Costa Hempey Attorneys at Law LLC, represented defendant Chaise Lindstedt, 36, of Princeville. Judge Kathleen Watanabe accepted the misdemeanor plea and sentenced Mr. Lindstedt to one year in jail with credit for time already served—the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor offense. Since Mr. Lindstedt already served more than 20 months in jail awaiting trial, he was released from the courthouse on Wednesday morning after his plea and sentencing.

De Costa stated in a press release: “The defense was not surprised with the outcome as Mr. Lindstedt denied attempting to kill Mr. Wade from day one. We knew of Mr. Wade’s reluctance to testify since February 2017 when Mr. Wade was incarcerated for unrelated felony charges of his own. He spoke to our investigator and made a rambling statement that did not comport with his statement to the police a year earlier. Mr. Wade would not recount details of the assault to our investigator and he expressed an unwillingness to testify against Mr. Lindstedt.”

The charge stemmed from a February 12, 2016 incident at Anini Beach. Although Mr. Lindstedt was at the beach earlier that afternoon and was involved in a scuffle with the complaining witness at that time, Mr. Lindstedt maintained that he did not cause the life threatening injuries suffered by Mr. Wade and that there was at least one other person there at the beach when Mr. Lindstedt left.

According to the defense opening statement to the jury on Tuesday morning, the defense intended to show that Mr. Lindstedt was attacked by the complaining witness, defended himself, ran away, arrived at his home in Princeville with no blood on his body or clothing, and that there was likely a second attacker who repeatedly struck the complaining witness with some kind of weapon in the evening after it was already dark. The defense maintained that Mr. Wade having multiple substances in his system, admittedly having manic episodes and flashbacks to a prior incident and having been repeatedly struck in the head was probably confused about his attacker when interviewed by police shortly after the incident in 2016.

Mr. Lindstedt took the plea deal rather than risk a possible life sentence for attempted murder. There was an outside chance of the government finding Mr. Wade and forcing him to testify. Although Mr. De Costa was prepared to cross examine Mr. Wade and show the jury how his 2016 allegations did not ring true, it was preferable for Mr. Lindstedt to take the misdemeanor and be released from the courthouse on Wednesday morning without a felony record and no further jail time.