Lahaina man, 29, was granted one last shot on probation

WAILUKU — A few months after being placed on probation for similar crimes, a Lahaina man was arrested for burglarizing his family’s home and entering a vehicle to take property.

On Feb. 28, Blaine Asato, 29, was sentenced to a one-year jail term as part of four years’ probation.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo, who followed a plea agreement in sentencing Asato, warned him that he would face prison if he doesn’t comply with court requirements.

“This is your only shot at probation,” she told Asato. “One missed AA meeting, not paying off your fines and fees — don’t even ask, come here preparing to go to prison.” 

In his latest case, Asato had pleaded no contest to first-degree burglary, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, third-degree theft and habitual property crime.

The crimes occurred Aug. 21 when Asato burglarized his family’s home and entered a vehicle to steal property.

“I’m sure in his heart, it’s even worse because he knows the victims,” said Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas. “It’s how low can he go. It seems like he hit the bottom of the pit. He’s going to have to fight this addiction.”

Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said Asato’s crimes “come from a life of drugs.”

“He knows this is his last chance,” Raidmae said. “He’s basically a cat who’s exhausted eight of his lives, and he’s got one more to go.”

He said Asato has goals, including pursuing a career in culinary arts.

Asato said he also hopes to become a coach to tell youth “there’s a lot more than using drugs and going down the wrong path.”

“I made some poor choices when I used drugs again,” Asato said in court. “Now that I’ve been clean and sober, I get my feelings back, and I feel extremely sad and shameful, especially for my family.

“I come from a good family,” he said. “I was the black sheep, I guess.”

Judge Loo noted that Asato’s background included playing football and two other sports and being on the junior prom court in high school, as well as attending Golden West College.

“You had every opportunity given to you,” Loo told Asato. “You chose to use drugs. You can’t say you’re the black sheep.”

In November 2016, Asato was placed on four years’ probation for stealing from his grandmother.

“You got out, you started drugging again right after Super Bowl time,” Loo told Asato.

He was arrested last year for stealing jewelry and money from his sister.

Family members suspected Asato in the theft of other property, including a weed whacker and pressure washer, Loo noted.

When Asato was arrested, he gave someone else’s name, Loo said. Police reported that Asato flooded the Lahaina Police Station cellblock, leaving an inch of water.

She said Asato’s recent letter to the court was similar to the one he wrote before 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen sentenced him more than a year ago in three criminal cases.

Loo said she didn’t know whether Asato deserved another chance on probation.

“You’re not even third string,” Loo said. “You’re barely on the bench, and you’re hanging on the edge of the bench.”

As part of his probation, Asato was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to perform 200 hours of community service. He was ordered to write letters apologizing to his parents and sister.