Wailuku man gets 10 years in prison for assault

WAILUKU – A man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison after beating another man who had intervened in an argument in Wailuku two years ago.

As a repeat offender, Conrad Kekona, 24, of Wailuku was ordered to serve at least three years and four months in prison before being eligible for parole.

“I apologize. I just like move forward with my life,” Kekona said in court. “I like get this over with.”

Originally charged with first-degree assault, Kekona had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree assault for the Jan. 6, 2012, beating.

After 10 that night, a 60-year-old man was walking on Market Street toward Main Street in Wailuku when he saw Kekona and his girlfriend arguing. The 60-year-old yelled at Kekona to stop before Kekona ran across the street and began beating the older man, according to police.

The victim reported being punched and kicked, even while he was on the ground. He suffered a hematoma, missing teeth and pain to his rib area. While the victim was on the ground, Kekona went through both of the victim’s front pockets looking for money, police reported.

At the time, Kekona was participating in the Maui Drug Court program of treatment and supervision. He was found guilty of second-degree burglary and second-degree theft in a 2010 case after agreeing to end his participation in Drug Court.

In sentencing Kekona, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza followed a plea agreement recommending consecutive five-year prison terms for the burglary and assault cases.

Defense attorney Chris Dunn said Kekona had learned from the time he had spent in custody, beginning in his youth and continuing into adulthood.

“He has demonstrated himself to be a very thoughtful person, an articulate person, an advocate for himself,” Dunn said. “I think this is somebody who can rehabilitate himself.”

Cardoza said Kekona is intelligent and could accomplish much.

“Don’t simply do your time,” the judge told Kekona. “Use your time.”

According to court records, Kekona has prior convictions for two counts each of second-degree burglary and second-degree theft and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

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