Pukalani man gets a 10-year prison term for ‘Torture’ of girlfriend

WAILUKU — A Pukalani man was sentenced Wednesday to prison terms totaling 10 years for repeatedly assaulting and abusing his girlfriend, including by shooting her at least 17 times with an airsoft gun and placing his hands around her neck to keep her from breathing after learning she was pregnant.

Bryan Planesi, 20, had been dating the woman for about two years, and they were living together when he assaulted her Oct. 7 and 12, 2017, said Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal.

“This is probably one of the most egregious instances of domestic violence that I’ve seen,” Segal said.

He said the assaults started at a friend’s house when Planesi accused his girlfriend of cheating on him after seeing Facebook messages and struck her in the right eye with his fist in a backhand motion. The woman felt like she couldn’t open her eye, Segal said.

He said the two got into an argument when Planesi grabbed the woman’s palm and fingers, bending them backward so she could hear her fingers cracking, and telling her he didn’t trust her.

After they went home, “the violence continued within the residence,” Segal said.

They were in the bedroom when Planesi “called her his slave, his bitch,” Segal said.

He said the woman was sitting on the ground when Planesi grabbed her left hand and bent her fingers backward to the point where she felt like they were broken.

He apologized before punching her face while she was on the bed.

“She begged him to stop, but he continued,” Segal said.

He said the violence continued into the morning when Planesi pointed the airsoft gun at her head and “told her he wanted her to suffer more.”

She was shot multiple times in her left arm, forearm and leg and left side of her body, Segal said. He said the woman was examined by a doctor who found “at least 17 different holes in her body which were consistent with being shot by an airsoft gun.”

Planesi packed the woman’s clothes and told her to leave before he pushed her against the bedroom door and punched and kicked her, Segal said. Then Planesi grabbed the woman’s jaw and put pressure on her neck to impede her breathing so she became dizzy and passed out, Segal said. He said she was lying on the ground when Planesi punched her twice in her left eye, “telling her she does not deserve to live.”

Five days later, after the woman told Planesi she was pregnant, he became angry, Segal said. He said Planesi grabbed the woman’s mouth and cheeks, bit her lower lip and punched her on the left side of her face. He also grabbed her hair, twisted her arm and pushed her from the bed onto the tile floor, Segal said.

He said Planesi returned with a 12-inch-long knife that the woman used to cut meat and “told her he was going to stab her and cut the baby out of her.”

The woman felt her elbow and forearm snap and thought her shoulder was dislocated, Segal said. He said Planesi placed both hands around her neck to impede her breathing for about a minute.

“This wasn’t just abuse. This was torture over the course of a week,” Segal said. “This was emotional torture. This was physical torture.”

Speaking in court Wednesday, the woman told Planesi: “I hate you for what you did to me. I would never cheat on you.”

“Do not come near me ever again or my child,” she said. “She looks just like you. How dare you do this to me? I cooked for you, I cleaned, I did your laundry. What did you do? You beat me and threatened to kill me.”

In two criminal cases, Planesi had pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of felony abuse of a household member. Other charges were dismissed in exchange for his pleas.

Planesi, who has already spent more than a year in jail, asked to be released and placed on probation.

Planesi has no prior criminal record and grew up in a broken home, said Deputy Public Defender Jeffrey Wolfenbarger.

“These kinds of actions are learned in the home growing up,” Wolfenbarger said. “Give him a chance to learn from the terrible actions that were committed.”

Planesi said he needed treatment such as anger management.

“You don’t think it’s wrong to do what you did?” 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen asked.

“It was wrong,” Planesi replied.

“You need somebody to teach you that?” Bissen asked.

“No, I know that,” Planesi said.

“Kind of basic,” Bissen said. “You don’t break people’s fingers or arms or shoot them with guns. You don’t need to be taught that.”

When the judge asked why it happened, Planesi said, “I just lost it.”

Planesi agreed that he was insecure and jealous. “I’m really sorry for what I did,” he said. “I’m really, really sorry.”

Judge Bissen said he had considered factors including the nature and circumstances of the offenses and Planesi’s history in sentencing the defendant to consecutive prison terms totaling 10 years.

“I know you’re a young man, Mr. Planesi, and I know you have no prior record,” Bissen said. “But based on the conduct in this case, you’re being sentenced to 10 years in prison.”

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