Abusing wife in front of the children leads to 1 year in jail

WAILUKU — After acknowledging he has a drug problem and apologizing for hurting his family, a man was sentenced to a one-year jail term for abusing his wife in front of their children.

Kendl Kamai, 30, of Wailuku also was placed on five years’ probation.

“I take full responsibility for all my actions that have got me here,” he said at his sentencing Jan. 4. “I also take responsibility for my inactions, things I should have done.

“I made some bad decisions. I want to apologize to the people I have hurt the most by my actions — my family, my loved ones, my sister, my wife and kids. There is no excuse for my actions. I treated everyone badly. I know that I have a serious drug problem.”

In three cases, Kamai had pleaded no contest to two counts of felony abuse of a family member while children under age 14 were present and first-degree bail jumping.

Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal said Kamai “has a history of violence and abuse that spans almost a decade,” dating to 2009 when he was charged with misdemeanor abuse of a former girlfriend and convicted of third-degree assault.

The following year, he was placed on probation after being convicted of first-degree terroristic threatening, two counts of felony abuse by strangulation, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second-degree terroristic threatening and interfering with reporting of an emergency, Segal said.

“His performance on probation was extremely poor,” Segal said.

He said Kamai committed additional violent crimes by abusing his sister and his wife.

“The saddest part about this case is he committed these offenses in front of his family and his children,” Segal said.

“They have had to witness Mr. Kamai mounted on top of his nine-month pregnant wife, grabbing her,” he said. “They have had to witness her screaming for help. They have had to witness him whaling on their aunty. They have had to witness Mr. Kamai grabbing his wife by the neck. They have had to witness him slamming his wife against the car. They have had to witness him punching her in the head with both a closed fist and a cellphone.”

In 2016, Kamai’s 5-year-old told police that “daddy’s getting arrested for hitting mom,” Segal said.

“That was the norm,” he said. “A year later, his wife told police the children were unfazed by his conduct because it happened so often. They were scared to cry because they were in fear for their own safety.”

Deputy Public Defender Jeffrey Wolfenbarger said mental health issues were a factor for Kamai.

“In the past, I don’t think he realized he had a problem,” Wolfenbarger said. “Now, after these cases, he realizes he does need help.”

His father said Kamai had been addicted to crystal methamphetamine for about eight years.

“It’s been affecting his work, his home life, family structure,” he said. “A lot of the trust within the household is gone.

“Everybody in the household is on edge because of that drug use. I think the violence stems from it. He needs help. If he needs jail time, as tough as it is for me as a parent, so be it.”

Noting that both his father and Kamai said he should take responsibility and accept the consequences, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said, “That’s not something you hear all the time. I appreciate the candor.”

“It’s obvious you have a drug problem,” Bissen told Kamai. “Your family knew it way before you did. It seems like you’ve been down this long road already, but you haven’t traveled this road alone, and it hasn’t been unscathed. There’s a lot of people that have been hurt along the way.”

While on probation again, Kamai will have a chance to participate in drug treatment and anger management “and prove up the things you just said,” Bissen said.

Kamai was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs, undergo mental health treatment and complete domestic violence intervention classes.

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