WAILUKU — A felon who “took it to the next level” when he fired a gun in the apartment of his neighbor and young son was sentenced Thursday to prison terms totaling 15 years.
The consecutive prison terms were imposed on Frank Coricelli for charges related to both the shooting July 26, 2019, in Wailuku and a cache of firearms and ammunition that police found in his apartment the next day.
As a felon with convictions dating back decades in California and Nevada, Coricelli, 59, wasn’t supposed to possess guns and ammunition, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said.
While Coricelli may have had issues with his neighbor Shayne Kupihea, Cahill said that didn’t extend to Kupihea’s son, who was in the residence when Coricelli fired a second shot that afternoon.
“That’s not excusable, that’s not explainable behavior,” Cahill said. “The bottom line is you’re shooting the gun in somebody’s home, even if you’re shooting it into the ground. There was certainly intent to scare, and you’ve got a little kid there. Whatever was going on between Shayne and Frank Coricelli, the little kid had nothing to do with this.”
The shooting occurred after Kupihea had gone to Coricelli’s apartment at 161 N. Market St. and the two men began arguing through the screen door.
Then Coricelli “took his anger to an excessive level,” Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani said.
“He produced a firearm and fired a shot just to the side of Shayne Kupihea’s head,” Tani said. “It’s undisputed that the defendant wasn’t trying to shoot at Shayne. But when you have a firearm fired close to your head, that’s got to be terrifying.”
Kupihea ran into his unit next door, grabbed his 6-year-old son who was watching television and “pinned his son against the wall to protect his son because the defendant continued to follow Shayne,” Tani said.
He said Coricelli fired another shot into the ground near the entrance of Kupihea’s unit.
“Shayne thought Coricelli was firing at him and his son,” Tani said. “His last thought was he’s going to be shot in front of his son.”
In arguing for consecutive prison terms totaling 20 years, Tani said both Kupihea and his son are still receiving treatment for the trauma they suffered that day.
“Defendant was very, very lucky that nobody else was injured,” Tani said, noting the apartments are close together.
Coricelli asked to be sentenced to concurrent prison terms totaling 10 years.
Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said Kupihea confronted Coricelli after he had offered to help the landlady, who had been complaining about Kupihea and wanting him to leave the property.
The day of the shooting, Kupihea went up to Coricelli’s screen door and began calling him out to fight, Raidmae said.
He said Kupihea was young, fit and strong. Coricelli had heard that a week earlier, Kupihea had beaten a 70-year-old man on the property, Raidmae said.
He said Coricelli was armed with a handgun. “I’m not saying it’s right to show up at the door with a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, but it’s understandable,” Raidmae said.
After Coricelli fired one shot through the screen door and Kupihea left, Coricelli fired a second shot “straight down” into the floor of Kupihea’s residence, Raidmae said.
“He wasn’t wandering around looking for trouble,” Raidmae said. “Somebody stepped right up to his door, overstepped and was wanting to beat him. That’s where the anger got the best of him, perhaps the fear got the best of him.
“No one got close to getting shot.”
While incarcerated at the Maui Community Correctional Center since being arrested after the shooting, Coricelli had been a “model inmate,” Raidmae said.
Coricelli has convictions from his “rowdy” younger days, but there had been a “gap” when Coricelli was working “and trying to put that life behind him,” Raidmae said.
He said Coricelli had a “tinkering” hobby of converting guns to be fully automatic.
Police reported finding seven pistols, seven rifles, a shotgun, four silencers and ammunition in a search of Coricelli’s residence.
“I know I was wrong,” Coricelli said in court Thursday. “No matter what somebody else’s actions were, my actions were wrong.”
Coricelli had pleaded no contest to first-degree burglary, being a felon in possession of a pistol, two counts of being a felon in possession of ammunition, being a felon in possession of a rifle, first-degree reckless endangering and first-degree terroristic threatening.
Other charges, including second-degree attempted murder, were dismissed in exchange for his pleas.
Judge Cahill sentenced Coricelli to 10-year prison terms, to be served at the same time, for the firearms, ammunition and burglary charges. He was sentenced to five-year prison terms for the threatening and reckless endangering charges.
Cahill ordered the five- and 10-year prison terms to be served separately for a total of 15 years.
“Clearly, he took it to the next level and shot at Shayne Kupihea, shot at Shayne Kupihea’s little boy,” Cahill said. “That warrants the consecutive sentencing.”
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at [email protected]