Man who grabs iPad, chokes boy, guilty of robbery

Nicholas Slot talks to Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae on Wednesday morning in 2nd Circuit Court. Slot was found guilty of robbing a student of his iPad at Sacred Hearts School in Lahaina last year. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

WAILUKU — A Sacred Hearts School student testified that his iPad was grabbed and that he was choked by a Lahaina man who was found guilty Wednesday of robbery.

Nicholas Slot, 34, also was convicted of second-degree theft, third-degree assault and second-degree terroristic threatening of the boy, who was a 4th-grader when the robbery occurred last year on the Lahaina campus.

In finding Slot guilty, 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said the prosecution had proven the charges beyond a reasonable doubt in the nonjury trial.

Testifying Wednesday morning, the boy, who is now 12 years old, said he was sitting with a classmate on a bench outside the 4th-grade classroom while they studied for their Hawaiian studies class when a stranger approached at about 10:30 a.m. March 3, 2017.

After asking where the office was, the man asked if he could show the boy something on his iPad, which had been issued to the student by the school.

The boy said he pulled the iPad back toward his body because he didn’t want a stranger touching it.

“He grabs the iPad away from me, puts his hand against my neck and presses me against the back of the bench,” the boy said. “He grabbed it pretty firmly and ripped it out of my hands, and he was choking me to the point where I couldn’t breathe.”

Then, speaking so only the boy and his classmate could hear, the man said, “I’m going to f—ing take this iPad, and you’re not going to tell f—ing anybody, and if you do, I’m going to f—ing hurt you,” the boy testified.

He estimated the man’s hand was on his neck for 11 seconds.

At the time, the boy was 4-foot-10 and weighed 100 pounds.

Asked by Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani to rate the amount of force that the man used, the boy said it was 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Both the boy and his classmate, an 11-year-old girl, identified Slot as the man who took the boy’s iPad and choked him.

“He just snatched it,” said the girl, who estimated Slot choked the boy for “a couple of seconds.”

“I was just frozen, so I was just sitting there,” the girl said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

When another student ran into the 4th-grade classroom screaming that the boy was being choked, teacher Luwynda Quandt said she ran outside. She asked the boy which way the man went, and he pointed around the side of the classroom.

Quandt said she saw the man heading toward Dickenson Street and shouted to him. The man turned around and had the iPad, Quandt said.

“I said, ‘What are you doing?’ Then I said, ‘You need to give me that back,’ ” she said. “He handed it back to me. He told me that it was just a test and that he worked for the Maui Police Department.

“He shouted some obscenity, that I needed to get back in the classroom.”

She identified Slot as the man, who then walked away.

At 11:50 a.m., Lahaina patrol officer Eleazor Bartolome said he was driving in the makai direction on Lahainaluna Road when he saw and detained Slot as he walked mauka-bound on the side of the road. Slot matched the description of the robbery suspect, Bartolome said.

“The biggest thing was the deformity of the teeth,” he said.

The boy said the suspect had jagged and missing teeth.

After the prosecution ended its case, Judge Loo granted a defense request to acquit Slot of two other counts of second-degree terroristic threatening of the girl and another girl who didn’t testify.

Slot said he didn’t want to testify in his defense.

After the judge found Slot guilty, Tani and Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae agreed that Slot will be sentenced only on second-degree robbery and second-degree terroristic threatening charges because the theft and assault charges are included in the robbery count.

Tani said he would seek consecutive sentencing for Slot when he is sentenced March 6. The second-degree robbery charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

According to court records, Slot was on probation for second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, fourth-degree theft, second-degree burglary, second-degree theft and fourth-degree criminal property damage when he was arrested for the robbery.

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

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