Victim: Ex-boyfriend raped, threatened her in 24-hour period

Judge finds probable cause, keeps bail at $250,000

WAILUKU — A judge kept bail at $250,000 for a Wailuku man after his former girlfriend testified he raped, threatened and assaulted her while keeping her from leaving his vehicle and bedroom during a nearly 24-hour period.

Devin Rieta, 30, is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of kidnapping, three counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, five counts of second-degree assault, abuse, violating an order for protection, interfering with reporting of an emergency and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Wailuku District Court, Rieta’s former girlfriend testified she was at a friend’s house at about 9:30 a.m. July 26 when Rieta showed up in his white Toyota 4Runner. He was calm at first and asked for his batteries that he thought were in a backpack, the 26-year-old woman said.

She said she gave him the backpack, telling him the batteries weren’t there.

Rieta was angry when he told her to “get the f— in the car,” she said.

When she told him she didn’t want to, he got out of the car, grabbed her by the hair, dragged her around the car and put her in the passenger seat, she said.

She said he told her to put on her seat belt and he held the buckle as he drove. When she tried to take off the seat belt and get out of the vehicle at a stop sign, “he pulled my arm back and pushed my face into the side of the window,” she said.

Rieta said “that he was going to kill me. . . . I’m never going to see my friends or family ever again,” she testified.

He drove to his house on Kainalu Street, where he forced her out of his vehicle, pulling her arm and shoving her forward while telling her to get into his bedroom, she said.

“He was yelling,” she said and ripped up a collage of the two of them and her daughter.

The woman said Rieta slapped the side of her face and shoved her onto the bed.

“That’s when he got on top of me and held my neck,” she said.

She said he held one hand around the front of her neck, yelling and pushing down harder before letting go.

“Were you able to breathe?” Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Coccaro asked.

“No,” the woman replied.

“Were you able to talk?” Coccaro asked.

“No,” the woman answered.

“What did you think he was going to do?” Coccaro asked.

“Kill me,” the woman said.

When Rieta left the bedroom, the woman got her cellphone and was going to call 911 before Rieta took the phone and broke it, she said.

She said he told her to get back in the car, and they went to Kahului Harbor before returning to his house, then walking to a nearby gas station.

Rieta wanted her to use the pay phone to call someone, but she said she didn’t have any phone numbers. “He was upset,” she said. “He told me that we needed to go back to the house. I didn’t want to go. He grabbed the back of my neck and pushed me forward.”

The woman said she ran into a store next to his house and went upstairs. Rieta followed and pushed her so she fell down the stairs, she said. When she got up, she said Rieta grabbed her by the neck and forced her into the house and into his bedroom.

She said he forced her to have sex with him, telling her if she didn’t do what he said, “that he was going to kill me.”

At one point, Rieta got a knife she had given him from his fishing bag and held it to her throat, the woman testified. He told her “that if I told anybody or if I called the cops, he would kill my daughter,” she said.

Rieta told the woman to shower and gave her other clothes to wear afterward, she said.

The woman said she was forced to spend the night with Rieta, who tied the doorknob with rope to keep it shut when he left the room.

When Rieta woke up the next morning, he wanted to go fishing, the woman said.

“He was mad,” she said. “He was pacing around the room, throwing things around. He told me if I say anything, he’ll find me.”

The woman said she ran to a friend’s house down the road and called another friend and police.

It was about 6:15 a.m. July 27 when she left Rieta’s house, she said.

The woman said a temporary restraining order she had obtained allowed for contact with Rieta but prohibited him from physically or verbally abusing her. The restraining order was in effect until July 27, she said.

Deputy Public Defender William “Pili” McGrath asked the woman why she hadn’t told anyone to call police when they were at Kahului Harbor.

“If I said anything, it would have escalated,” she said.

Detective Oran Satterfield said police obtained a search warrant for Rieta’s residence and recovered the woman’s clothing, a knife and a damaged cellphone.

Satterfield said he saw bruising on the woman’s face when he talked with her.

McGrath argued that the woman should have had substantial injuries “if this happened the way she said.”

“What concerns me is it almost sounds like a movie or novel,” he said. “What I think we have here is whatever happened has been greatly exaggerated.”

Judge Kelsey Kawano said he found the victim credible, ruling there was probable cause to support the charges.

Although a bail study recommended that Rieta be released on supervision, Kawano kept bail at $250,000. The judge said Rieta has a prior record including convictions for abuse and cruelty to animals.

Rieta is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 15 in 2nd Circuit Court.

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

COMMENTS