A Makaha man who has been blocking access to Makua Beach for eight months pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to harassing a woman trying to visit the public beach last month.

Samson Souza has been camping with his family at the West Side beach for months in what he says is a bid to block access in order to protect endangered spinner dolphins that are known to frequent the area. Residents say he’s been threatening violence against some visitors at the beach, including calling out racial slurs.

Souza faces two charges of harassment and one charge of terroristic threatening in the second degree. It was Souza’s third court hearing that was continued from October. Court minutes show that Souza did not have a public defender.

Samson and Kawehionalani Souza stand near tents and vehicles near the entrance to Makua Beach Park. The Souza'a have been warning visitors that it is illegal to harass dolphins offshore.
Samson and Kawehionalani Souza stand near tents and vehicles near the entrance to Makua Beach Park. The Souzas have been warning visitors that it is illegal to harass dolphins offshore. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

He pleaded not guilty to the harassment charge during Wednesday’s arraignment at the Waianae District Court. The Court scheduled an additional hearing for Dec. 28 on a charge that he allegedly threatened another woman in September at the same beach.

Souza entered the plea alone, prompting Judge Kristine Yoo to ask why he hasn’t obtained a public defender yet. He responded that had been trying to contact the office for two days.

“I don’t want to hear that you’ve just been recently calling,” Yoo said, noting that the court had asked him to call the public defender’s office in October. She also warned that the stakes were high. “I’m letting you know right now that you’re looking at potentially one year (in) jail,” Yoo said.

Neighbors have been talking for months on social media about encounters with Souza at Makua Beach.

According to court documents, Souza was accused of verbally harassing Makaha resident Emily Silge at the beach with insults and taunts.

Silge told Civil Beat in a previous interview that she saw Souza body-blocking two men from entering the beach when she got out of her car to ask him to stop. She also said that Souza threatened to harm her physically and slash her car tires while recording her on his phone.

Silge’s encounter with Souza was one of several that were recorded and spread throughout social media.

The other charge pertains to an allegation that Souza threatened Angela Arbuckle at Makua Beach in September. Court documents only included vague descriptions of how he threatened her.

The separate harassment charge was dismissed for further investigation.

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