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Press Release

Federal Inmate Receives Seven More Years in Prison for Assaulting Correctional Officers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii

HONOLULU – U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi sentenced David Akui-Cabanilla, III, 37, yesterday to 84 months of imprisonment for assaulting two federal officers at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu on March 23, 2020, while Akui-Cabanilla was detained prior to trial on a separate federal charge for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Judge Kobayashi ordered the 84-month sentence be served consecutive to a 34-month sentence she imposed on March 8, 2022, for Akui-Cabanilla’s firearm conviction.

Court documents detailed the nature of the assaults as the correctional officers were engaged in their official duties. In preparation for his attacks, the defendant fashioned two makeshift weapons. The first weapon was a long tube sock tied to the loop of a locked metal padlock. The second weapon was a shiv formed from a razor blade with a piece of bedsheet tied around one end, simulating a handle. Akui-Cabanilla beat Correctional Officer D.M. unconscious with the locked metal padlock. He took the officer’s Bureau of Prisons-issued keys and his pepper spray in an apparent escape attempt. When other correctional officers, including Officer D.C., confronted Akui-Cabanilla, he sprayed Officer D.C. and other officers in the face with pepper spray. He then punched Officer D.C. in the head knocking him down to the ground.

Multiple officers suffered injuries requiring medical attention and ongoing physical therapy treatment. As part of this sentence, Judge Kobayashi ordered Akui-Cabanilla to pay $24,508.92 in restitution for medical bills paid by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

“While we have recently prosecuted a few correctional officers for violating the civil rights of an inmate, other correctional officers are lawfully protecting our community from incarcerated inmates,” said U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors. “This was nothing short of a vicious, premeditated attack on several of those correctional officers, and such conduct warrants the additional imprisonment imposed.”

"Violence against law enforcement officers is absolutely unacceptable," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. "The FBI takes this brutality very seriously and is committed to aggressively investigating such heinous crime."

This conviction is the result of an FBI investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib is prosecuting the case.


Elliot Enoki

Updated December 7, 2022

Violent Crime