Man gets 90 days in attack that injured his wife’s left eye

WAILUKU – A man who used “cave man mentality” in dragging and then beating his wife so badly that her eye socket bone was fractured and her eye was swollen shut was sentenced to a 90-day jail term.

Joseph Fugow, 34, also was placed on four years’ probation July 18.

“I know what I did, it’s not good, and I learned from my mistake,” Fugow said in court.

He asked to be spared any additional jail time.

Deputy Public Defender William “Pili” McGrath said Fugow has no prior criminal record and was working. He no longer lives with his common-law wife, McGrath said.

“He’s ashamed of what he did,” McGrath said. “It’s a substance-driven crime.”

Fugow had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of first-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault. As part of a plea agreement, charges of first-degree terroristic threatening and abuse were dismissed.

Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas said the violent episode began at about 3 p.m. Feb. 4 when the victim was at her Waihee home with her three children and Fugow accused her of infidelity.

She walked away, but Fugow followed her outside, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back into the home and onto a living room bed, Temas said. There, Fugow straddled her, first placing his right hand over her mouth so she couldn’t yell for help, Temas said. He said the woman reported she couldn’t breathe before Fugow switched hands, placing his left hand over her mouth and punching her 10 to 20 times in the face.

She suffered a beating so badly that her eye socket bone was fractured and her eye was swollen shut, Temas said.

Fugow stopped hitting the woman when another family member yelled at him to stop, but he continued threatening to kill her and carried a machete while he repeatedly walked around her and continued to accuse her of infidelity, Temas said.

He said Fugow locked the woman in a room, saying he would kill her if she left.

The next day, after Fugow fell asleep while guarding the door, their 3-year-old child opened the door to allow the woman to “escape this nightmare the defendant created,” Temas said.

She left and found a good Samaritan who helped call police.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said the woman tried to defuse the situation by walking away.

“When I think about you dragging her back into the house, the first thing that comes into my mind is this whole cave man mentality that kicks into high gear,” Loo told Fugow.

“She did the right thing. You began to pummel her.”

With Fugow delivering 10 to 20 punches, “she’s lucky she didn’t suffer more damage,” Loo said.

“You definitely have the wrong mentality dealing with women,” she told Fugow.

Loo followed a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution in sentencing Fugow, who previously spent four days in jail.

He was ordered to participate in a domestic violence intervention program and was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at

This article includes a correction from the original published on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The Maui News apologizes for the error.