Attempted Murder Charges Reduced for Molokai Man

Bail still set at $105,000

Attempted murder charges have been dropped for a Molokai man who allegedly attacked his girlfriend and her teenage daughter with a knife three weeks ago at the Kawela Barns. He will now face assault charges for his actions. 

John H. Sardinha Sr., 52, of Ho`olehua, pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree assault in a Maui courtroom on July 7. Sardinha’s attorney, William Sloper, said the prosecution and defense came to an agreement that would allow Sardinha to forego the preliminary hearing, while facing the lesser felony charges. Deputy prosecutor Carson Tani said the charges were reduced because “the court determined [the victim’s injuries] were non life-threatening.” Sardinha will appear before a jury on Sept. 13 in 2nd Circuit Court on Maui.

In a bail hearing on July 9 at 2nd Circuit Court, Judge Joel August denied Sloper’s request to lower the bail from $105,000 to $15,000, according to Tani. Sardinha is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center, and was ordered to have no contact with the victims if he posts bail.

The Maui News reported that the court upheld the $105,000 bail because of Sardinha’s criminal record and concern for the community’s safety. According to court records, Sardinha has five prior felony convictions, including first-degree terroristic threatening, robbery and burglary.

In 1999, Sardinha was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and assault. He was released in November 2007, according to the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

Sardinha was arrested on June 26, 2010 after he allegedly slashed the woman and her 14-year-old daughter with a knife similar to a “minimachete,” according to Detective Eugene Santiago of the Molokai Police Department. The woman suffered deep lacerations to her face and forearm, while the girl sustained cuts to her hands when she tried to intervene, police said. Both victims – whose names have not been released – were treated and released at Molokai General Hospital.

On the night of the attack, Sardinha claims he confronted his girlfriend about her abuse and maltreatment of their three children – ages 2 to 6 – after consuming 10 to 11 cans of beer during the day, according to Santiago’s testimony at the preliminary hearing. Santiago also said Sardinha expressed frustration with the woman’s addiction to crystal methamphetamine.


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