A Minneapolis man with 55 prior convictions and who was dubbed the “St. Paul Slapper” after being suspected in a series of bizarre, random assaults a year ago has been arrested again.
Justin Kaneakua kicked off his adult criminal career in 1999 at the age of 18 when he was charged in two Hennepin County cases with seven felony charges including six counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and one count of second-degree aggravated assault between the two cases.
Kaneakua would end up pleading guilty to only one charge of aggravated robbery in each case and the other charges in both cases were dismissed at sentencing a year later, according to court records. Kaneakua was sentenced to 48-months in prison in the cases.
Following his release from prison, Kaneakua has gone on to accumulate dozens more convictions including three more felonies that include third-degree assault, terroristic threats and robbery. Kaneakua originally received stayed sentences or stays-of-imposition on the three subsequent felonies and was placed on probation after short stints in local jail in each case.
Kaneakua’s other convictions include gross misdemeanor possession of burglary tools, which followed a 2016 burglary of a business in Northeast Minneapolis, gross misdemeanor theft, and several other convictions for theft, fifth-degree assault, violation of a protection order, damage to property, tamper with a motor vehicle, hit and run fail to stop, trespassing and driving after suspension and/or revocation. In most of these convictions, Kaneakua received reduced and/or concurrent sentences or was sentenced to time already served.
THE ST. PAUL SLAPPER
After a string of random daytime assaults from Dec. 2018 to Jan. 10, 2019, St. Paul Police put out an alert about a heavy-set white male in his 30s that had been driving around the city randomly assaulting and threatening people. The alert said that five people had reported being assaulted in the city of St. Paul and that in all five cases vehicles were damaged or the suspect slapped or assaulted them with an object.
Kaneakua was finally arrested and charged following another assault in Columbia Heights on Jan. 7, 2019, that occurred outside Savers thrift store on the 4900 block of Central Avenue Northeast in Anoka County, MN.
In that case, Kaneakua was charged with three felony counts of second- and third-degree assault and simple robbery. The charging document states that Kaneakua punched a [61-year-old] man in the face several times and tried to hit him with a metal pipe after the man tried to intervene after Kaneakua started swearing at a female employee.
Kaneakua ended up pleading guilty in Anoka County only to the simple robbery charge and the other two felony charges were dismissed by Judge Bethany Fountain Lindberg at sentencing on Nov. 25.
Despite the fact that Kaneakua failed to appear for his original sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 5 and a warrant was issued for his arrest, Judge Fountain Lindberg granted Kaneakua a stay-of-imposition (felony sentence not imposed), and he was alternatively sentenced to the 216 days he’d spent in jail after arrest and was placed on supervised probation for a term of three years.
Just weeks later, on Jan. 10 of this year, a probation violation warrant was issued for Kaneakua’s arrest for allegedly failing to comply with the terms of his probation. Kaneakua was booked into Anoka County Jail on Jan. 24 and made a court appearance on the alleged violation on Monday.
According to court records, Kaneakua denied the probation violation and a “contested revocation hearing” has been scheduled for Feb. 26. Court records indicate that Kaneakau has been granted a public defender and that he was ordered conditionally released following Monday’s hearing with no bail required while he awaits the next hearing.
Kaneakua, 39, whose address is listed on the 3900 block of Minnehaha Avenue South, was never charged in connection to any of the St. Paul incidents, according to court records.
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