18-month jail term imposed due to ‘brutal nature’ of attack

WAILUKU – An 18-month jail term was ordered Friday for a man who admitted to robbing another man at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center bus stop, assaulting the victim and making off with a backpack containing about $100.

Kyley Phillips, 24, was placed on five years’ probation as part of his sentence.

He had pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery in the Sept. 1 incident.

At about 6:30 that morning, Wailuku resident Danny Barbosa was waiting for a bus to take him to his job in the laundry room of a Kaanapali hotel when he was approached by Phillips, who demanded money.

Barbosa was struck twice in the head and slammed to the ground by Phillips, said Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds. A mall security officer apprehended Phillips and held him for police.

At first suspecting mental health issues, police took Phillips to the Molokini unit at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Simonds said. But tests showed methadone, methamphetamine and Valium in Phillips’ system.

Defense attorney Walter Vierra asked that Phillips be released from jail after being incarcerated for about eight months for his first felony offense.

Phillips is remorseful, Vierra said. He added that Phillips’ parents were in the courtroom gallery Friday and were prepared to take him back to Molokai if he were released.

Phillips had been taking college courses and doing well on Molokai before moving to Maui and ending up homeless, Vierra said.

Simonds asked that the 18-month jail term be imposed, “given the brutal nature of this attack.”

Months later, Barbosa continued to suffer from headaches and numbness, Simonds said.

While following a plea agreement recommending probation for Phillips, 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo credited Phillips for the time he’s already served behind bars and noted he could have faced a 10-year prison term for taking the $10 backpack that contained the victim’s work uniform and about $100 cash.

Loo noted that Phillips had referred to himself as “insane” and “bipolar” in a report prepared by a probation officer.

“What’s really crazy is your behavior of robbing someone, stealing a $10 backpack with $100 inside for a 10-year prison term,” Loo told Phillips. “You’re very lucky you’re not going to prison.”

Phillips was ordered to pay $7,963 in restitution. He also was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to undergo anger management treatment.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.