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Man accused of robbing tourists ‘mistakenly released from jail’

An 18-year-old man accused of robbing two California tourists at knife point on Feb. 6 at Kolekole Beach Park was “mistakenly released from jail,” according to the prosecutor assigned to the case.

Deputy Prosecutor Shannon Kagawa said Tuesday that an apparent paperwork snafu resulted in the release of Tyler Kamanao Taylor from Hawaii Community Correctional Center on March 6.

Taylor, who is accused of robbing of two 29-year-old campers, Rayna Macher of San Mateo, Calif., and Daniel Toman of San Francisco, is charged with first-degree robbery, auto theft, third-degree criminal property damage, and two counts each of first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree theft. Taylor was in custody in HCCC awaiting a March 6 preliminary hearing date in Hilo District Court when a grand jury indicted him for the same charges on Feb. 28, which made the preliminary hearing unnecessary.

Taylor instead entered a not guilty plea on March 6 before Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura, who scheduled a trial that was supposed to have begun Monday. Taylor was a no-show for his trial date.

“On March 6, he appeared in Circuit Court and the bail was maintained at $121,000, and that’s off the indictment,” Kagawa said Tuesday. “We then filed (paperwork) in District Court dismissing the District Court case, the preliminary hearing. And the DPS released him, because they saw the dismissal.”

On Tuesday, the DPS website showed that Taylor has been out of custody since March 6. The reason stated is “case dismissed.” DPS spokeswoman Toni Schwartz called it a case of “two different courts (with) things happening at the same time.”

“The documents from the second court that said that he would stay on board didn’t come to us until after he had been released,” she said. “The first court, the District Court, the judge said ‘to be released immediately.’ So we released him on the 6th.”

Schwartz said DPS received paperwork on the indictment five days later.

“Unless the courts tell us what’s going on, we just go on what we have, and what we had at the time was to be released immediately,” she said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Taylor on May 22, and police issued a bulletin on June 12 asking the public for information on Taylor’s whereabouts. The bulletin didn’t mention how or why Taylor had been released from custody.

County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said he “can’t recall” a similar previous occurrence.

Asked if he considered Taylor to be dangerous, Roth replied, “Yes.”

Macher told Stephens Media in February that she and Toman were awakened by an intruder in their tent at about 4 a.m. Feb. 6. She said the intruder identified himself as “a ranger,” blinded them with a flashlight in their faces, slashed their tent with a knife, threatened them and took possessions including about $150 in cash. He also took the keys to Macher’s rented Ford Mustang, which he used to make his escape.

Police later found the Mustang abandoned in upper Wainaku and arrested Taylor on Feb. 8 at Rainbow Falls.

Taylor is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with short black hair. He has no permanent address but frequents the Puna district, police said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the police nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Email John Burnett at