Repeat offender gets 10 years in prison for burglary

Denny Vida

Denny Vida

WAILUKU — A man who was on probation when he burglarized homes in Wailuku, in one case stealing a gun, was sentenced Thursday to a 10-year prison term.

As a repeat offender, Denny Vida, 49, of Waikapu was ordered to serve at least six years and eight months of the term before being eligible for parole.

“He committed continuous crimes over and over and over, hurting the public, breaking into their homes,” said Ron Baybayan, who arrived home for lunch to find a screen pried open and his house burglarized May 27, 2014.

Speaking in court Thursday, Baybayan said he was concerned that by sentencing Vida to concurrent prison terms, he wasn’t facing consequences for committing new crimes while on probation for similar offenses.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza, who followed a plea agreement in sentencing Vida, said the defendant had forfeited his right to probation by his actions. In addition to being sentenced to prison, Vida was subject to mandatory-minimum terms, Cardoza noted.

In his latest cases, Vida had pleaded no contest to three counts of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, two counts of second-degree theft, being a felon in possession of a firearm, keeping a firearm in an improper place and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

Defense attorney Michelle Drewyer said most of Vida’s crimes occurred after 2010 when he was prescribed oxycodone for severe abdominal pain and later began abusing methamphetamine.

“He has taken responsibility for everything,” she said. “He’s hoping the facility where he’s transferred to will have a little better medical care for him.”

Baybayan said a .357 Magnum was stolen when his home was burglarized. “I’m not sure what a convicted felon is going to do with a .357 Magnum, but it’s not a good thing,” he said.

Also stolen was his girlfriend’s jewelry that had been kept in little boxes in a drawer, Baybayan said. Each box was opened, the jewelry was removed and the box was closed. “There was no evidence that there was a disturbance immediately,” he said.

His girlfriend didn’t make a claim for the stolen jewelry. “It was too painful for her to go through everything she had,” Baybayan said.

“He actually broke into my home, and the feeling of that is probably as bad as being assaulted,” he said.

Vida was identified as a suspect in the burglary the next day when another home was burglarized and a vehicle was seen leaving the home, said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura.

She said the home wasn’t far from the house where Vida went to “fence” stolen property. Vida was there when police went to the house, she said.

In one burglary, a woman confronted Vida inside her house, Hura said. The woman had gone home after getting a call from neighbors about a car parked in front of her house.

The woman saw Vida’s license plate number as he drove away, Hura said. Vida admitted he had gone to the home to steal, she said.

The mandatory-minimum term was triggered by Vida’s prior convictions for first-degree burglary in 2011 cases.

In court, Vida said he had been clean and sober for nearly three years.

“It proves that I can’t do drugs, not even painkillers, not anything,” he said. “I turn into this totally different person.

“I ask for everybody’s forgiveness.”

Cardoza told Vida to “remain true to your words, in terms of changing your life.”

“There’s no in between in terms of using and not using,” Cardoza said. “Issues of substance abuse arise and also criminal thinking — that’s a bad combination.”

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

* This article includes a correction from the original published on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. The headline inaccurately reported Vida’s prison term. The Maui News apologizes for the error.

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