Lawyer: Suspect in police officers' deaths was 'out of control'

Neighbors complained of man’s bizarre, annoying behavior in various disputes

By Caleb Jones and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A man suspected of stabbing a woman and killing two Hawaii police officers would record neighbors with a camera mounted to his hat and rig a barbecue grill to blow thick smoke directly into their windows, a lawyer for residents said.

Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel, facing eviction, stabbed a woman in the leg Sunday before he fired on responding authorities, killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, police said. A fire at Hanel’s residence then spread in a normally peaceful neighborhood at the far end of famed Waikiki Beach, an area where attorney David Hayakawa has represented three neighbors in restraining orders against Hanel since 2014.

“It was pretty clear he was out of control,” Hayakawa said.

Authorities did not respond to repeated requests for comment Monday. Police had said Hanel is missing but they’re almost certain he is inside the burned house. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard had said it could take days to process evidence and recover any remains.

Two women were also missing after the fire. Hanel’s lawyer, Jonathan Burge, says property owner Lois Cain’s sister told him Cain was unaccounted for. “She was trying to see whatever information we had because they can’t reach Lois,” Burge said. The sister told him she spoke with the woman who was stabbed, who was one of the tenants of the house, he said.

Cain had recently sought to evict Hanel, who lived in the home for free in exchange for his work, according to court records and his lawyer. Hanel has been described as paranoid and unhinged.

Neighbors complained of bizarre and annoying behavior including Hanel chasing cars down the street, confronting their guests and workers who came to their homes, recording them with a camera mounted to his hat and forcing thick smoke from his barbecue grill directly into their windows, Hayakawa said Monday. “Just crazy things,” he said.

He would hide in bushes and watch people and he yelled at tourists who were lost while trying to get to Diamond Head, Hayakawa said.

“He was kind of, in his own mind, block security,” Hayakawa said. When a woman who lived in the area would walk her dog or jog past Hanel’s home, “he focused on her and would take her picture,” Hayakawa said.

A judge sided with his clients “every step of the way,” Hayakawa said. “The court granted our motions, listened to us and ruled properly. But there’s only so much a piece of paper can do.”

The homes of two of Haya­kawa’s clients were gutted in the fire. He recalled one client telling him Sunday, “nothing that happened to me is anything compared to what happened to these police officer’s families. But when your house is gone and all your possessions, I don’t know how to describe that.”

Burge has represented Hanel since 2015 in various disputes with neighbors, including temporary restraining orders that three obtained against him. Hanel, a native of the Czech Republic who used Czech interpreters in court, faced a hearing next week on a charge of misusing 911 services, Burge said Sunday.

Burge said he never knew Hanel to be violent, but that “he’s kind of a quirky guy and had problems.” Hanel believed the government was watching him and tapping his phone, Burge said.

Cain was supportive of him in his disputes with neighbors, Burge said, but she wanted him to move out so she could move into the home. Burge said their relationship also soured because Hanel’s dog had died and Cain wouldn’t let him get a new one, and the eviction might have set Hanel off.

In the complaint for Hanel’s eviction, Cain said Hanel did not have a rental agreement and that despite repeated demands, he refused to vacate the premises.