It’s still not clear who dropped the ball when an assault suspect got away scot-free.
So we brought it to the attention of a Honolulu police commissioner, who wants answers.
Daniel Womack was arrested and charged with assault and terroristic threatening after a BB gun shooting spree in 2009, but a judge dismissed the case because a bench warrant took too long to be served.
After checking with the prosecutor’s office, sheriffs, and HPD, we couldn’t get a straight answer for the victim.
Since then, we’ve learned that HPD was supposed to serve the warrant.
The victim, Francine Sapla, testified in court in 2009 during a preliminary hearing for Womack.
Then he failed to show up for another hearing, so a judge issued a bench warrant addressed to HPD.
The case was later dismissed because the warrant was not served in a timely manner.
When we asked HPD why it took so long and what efforts were made, a spokeswoman told us that the records do not reflect why the warrant was not served.
We checked the records at Circuit Court and learned that Womack was arrested and eventually convicted in 2012 of sex crimes in Florida. He is now a registered sex offender.
Records show he was convicted of two counts of sexual battery and the victim is a minor.
“It makes me feel really disgusted because now he’s affected other people and they are also victims. He could have been probably put away and these sex crimes wouldn’t have occurred as a result of him getting free,” Sapla said.
Sapla says she’s still traumatized about what happened to her eight years ago, and she’s devastated that Womack has victimized someone else.
“Now other people are suffering because this case, in my opinion, wasn’t handled well, and I just feel now for the other victims involved and it’s just heartbreaking,” Sapla said.
“It sounds like something went terribly wrong. She deserves answers,” said Honolulu police commissioner Loretta Sheehan.
Sheehan says the commission normally gets complaints about officer misconduct. This is a bit different, but she adds that the public has a right to know what happened.
“The criminal justice system has failed a member of the public,” Sheehan said. “The police commission offers a public forum for her to come and find out why this happened, and to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
After we brought the case to the police commission, we then asked Sapla if she was willing to file a complaint and testify. She plans to be at the next meeting on July 19.