Ex-softball coach to be sentenced in federal meth case

May 8—The former head coach of the Sacred Hearts Academy softball team who was charged for her alleged role in a conspiracy to smuggle methamphetamine and a gun to her stepbrother through a guard at the Oahu Community Correctional Center is asking a federal judge for probation or home confinement.

The former head coach of the Sacred Hearts Academy softball team who was charged for her alleged role in a conspiracy to smuggle methamphetamine and a gun to her stepbrother through a guard at the Oahu Community Correctional Center is asking a federal judge for probation or home confinement.

Keicha K.W. Brunn-Kekuewa stepped down as head coach after the 2022 season following a March 4, 2021, superseding indictment charging her with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to possess a firearm by a felon and unlawful user of a controlled substance.

Brunn-Kekuewa entered into a plea agreement Nov. 1 where she declared her intent to plead guilty to the methamphetamine conspiracy in exchange for the U.S. Department of Justice dropping the firearm charge. Brunn-Kekuewa, a former catcher, was a member of the Lancers' 2007 ILH and state Division II championship team.

In a May 2 letter to Chief U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson, Brunn-Kekuewa asked not to be taken away from her husband and young children, and credited therapy with helping her become a better person.

"I cannot put into words how sorry I truly am. My actions have not only put my future in jeopardy but also the lives of everyone around me, my family, my friends, my athletes, and for that I am truly disappointed in myself, " wrote Brunn-Kekuewa. "Not a day goes by that I don't wake up, look at my children and wish to reset the clock. But truth be told we all know that doing so is impossible. What is possible, is how I have chosen to deal with it moving forward."

Brunn-Kekuewa's attorney, Lars R. Isaacson, asked Watson in a sentencing memorandum filed May 1 that "a downward variance be granted to a guideline range that would allow it to impose a sentence of a condition or combination of conditions requiring intermittent confinement, community confinement, or home detention."

Isaacson described Brunn-Kekuewa, who has a 2-month-old and an 11-year-old, as a hard worker who remains employed, overcame substance abuse and survived domestic violence that left her hospitalized. Brunn-Kekuewa touched countless community members through her coaching and other selfless acts that always put family, friends and people in need first, he said.

According to federal court documents, on Dec. 10, 2019, and Feb. 7, 2020, Brunn-Kekuewa's stepbrother, Robert S. Gibson, called his girlfriend, Ceceliacharity Hilo, several times from the Oahu Community Correctional Center, through Brunn-Kekuewa.

The conversations indicated that Hilo allegedly acquired methamphetamine and was separating it for distribution.

Hilo told Gibson she was keeping "one 14, " which meant she was keeping a half-ounce for her personal use.

In other phone calls between Gibson and Brunn-Kekuewa, Gibson told his stepsister to get his "heater, " or his "piece, " which he told her that Hilo was holding. Hilo replied through Brunn-Kekuewa that she would not give the gun to anyone.

In the same set of calls, Gibson allegedly laid out a conspiracy and gave instructions to Hilo and Brunn-Kekuewa about how to "acquire, package and deliver methamphetamine " with the assistance of a prison guard, Richard Ascencio, who allegedly intended to smuggle it into OCCC for Gibson.

Gibson was found guilty in state court on May 5, 2021, of four counts of kidnapping, two counts of second-degree robbery, promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree, and impersonating a law enforcement officer in the second degree. He was sentenced to 10 years in state prison and is in federal custody ahead of sentencing in a separate state robbery case.

According to the plea agreement, Brunn-Kekuewa met with Ascencio at Whitmore Village on Feb. 11, 2020, and at that meeting, at a convenience store, security camera footage showed Brunn-Kekuewa delivering the methamphetamine obtained from Hilo to Ascencio.

Isaacson, Brunn-­Kekuewa's attorney, wrote that Hilo got 27 months in federal prison for her role in the conspiracy or "time served " and that Brunn-­Kekuewa's sentence, at the least, should not exceed Hilo's, according to the sentencing memo. Gibson got 100 months for his role, and Ascencio will be sentenced July 27.