1 year in jail ordered in strangulation

WAILUKU — A Kihei man has been sentenced to a one-year jail term after being convicted of abusing his girlfriend, who lost consciousness when he reached into her car to squeeze her throat and lifted her off her seat.

Stacy Hardoby, 31, was placed on five years’ probation as part of his sentence imposed Sept. 14.

“Strangulation is one of the most terrifying, dangerous and lethal forms of domestic violence,” Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal said, in arguing that Hardoby be sentenced to the jail term. “Death can occur within minutes.

“Once an abuser puts his hands around a victim’s neck, the difference between domestic violence and homicide is very slim.”

In a trial in June, Hardoby was found guilty of felony abuse by strangulation and first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

He was arrested after his girlfriend called police, telling an officer she had trouble breathing while Hardoby had his hands around her neck at about 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, 2017, in the Kihei Foodland parking lot after she and Hardoby had argued. She also reported pain, shallow breathing, dry heaving, dizziness and a headache.

Hardoby said he and the woman had talked at Kamaole Beach Park III before she left the beach at about 7 p.m. He called her to ask if they could talk more about their relationship before they met in the parking lot.

“The defendant calmly walked up to the car” before reaching in through the window and squeezing the victim’s throat, Segal said.

“She thought she was going to die,” Segal said. “I don’t know what precipitated this type of rage, but it’s scary.”

Segal said Hardoby set a poor example for his child.

“The only reason why the state is not asking for prison is out of respect and fairness to his family,” Segal said. “They want to reunite and want to move forward as a unit.” 

Hardoby asked to be released from jail after being incarcerated for about four months.

In court, he apologized to his girlfriend “for everything that’s happened between us.”

While in jail, Hardoby had taken parenting and anger management classes, said Deputy Public Defender Tyler Stevenson.

“He has been trying to make improvements in his life,” Stevenson said.

He said Hardoby recognizes he may have to address substance abuse and mental health issues.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen questioned Hardoby about his reported use of marijuana since age 13 and his comment that he had obtained a medical marijuana card because he wanted “to be legit.”

“It was more to be in compliance with the court,” Hardoby said. “It’s for pain.”

He said he tested positive for marijuana use when he ate a brownie containing the drug and another time after a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. He said he “thought I was going to be in jail up until the trial, so I ended up smoking.”

As part of his sentence, Hardoby was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs, including medical marijuana, unless he is authorized to use marijuana by a written court order. He also was ordered to complete domestic violence intervention classes.

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