WAILUKU - A bystander used the mixed martial arts phrase "ground and pound" to describe a beating by a woman that left a 15-year-old girl with a bloodied and swollen face and broken nose.
"This assault was brutal," Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani told a 2nd Circuit Court jury during closing arguments Thursday. "Similar to a juvenile poi dog going up against an adult pit bull - the poi dog has no chance."
But Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball cited inconsistencies in witnesses' testimony, as well as differences from what they told police shortly afterward. Two women who testified were quite a distance away, Ball said, yet were able to describe what happened in detail. "There's something unusual about their story," he said. "How do they see through crowds?"
On Friday, jurors found 18-year-old Chyene Kala guilty of second-degree assault of the girl in the early-morning hours of Nov. 29 during a party at the old Maui High School campus in Hamakuapoko.
The victim, Upcountry resident Olivia Butchart Kalama, testified she had gone to the party with friends and soon got into an argument with another girl.
The two were standing and facing each other while yelling when Kala stepped between them, turning toward Butchart Kalama and saying, "Are you guys going to fight or are you just going to keep talking?" recalled Maile Magalienes.
She said she heard Butchart Kalama telling Kala, "Who are you? Why are you in the middle of this? I don't want to fight."
Kala head-butted the girl, "trying to get her to respond," Tani said. He said Butchart Kalama stepped back before Kala head-butted her again and began slapping her.
When she was against bushes and couldn't back up any farther, Butchart Kalama punched Kala in the face in self-defense, Tani said. "Defendant gets excited because this is exactly what she's been looking for," Tani said. "This is her excuse to assault and beat on Olivia."
Magalienes said about 20 people were gathered around the area, which was lit by a bonfire and vehicle headlights, as Kala punched and kicked the girl as she lay on the ground.
The assault stopped when Kala's friend Chery Moniz pulled her off the girl, witnesses said.
Butchart Kalama said she was dazed and confused as a boy carried her to the back of a pickup truck.
Sanoe Kuailani said she was in the back of the truck near Butchart Kalama when Kala showed up at the truck and again punched Butchart Kalama in the face.
While witnesses said Moniz again pulled Kala off the smaller girl, Moniz testified for the defense that it was the girl who punched Kala to start the fight.
Kuailani described the girl's face as a "blood mask," with her eye and nose swollen and her braces stuck in her gums.
The party broke up as police sirens were heard, but Kuailani and Magalienes remained with Butchart Kalama, telling police officers that they would take her home. Instead, they dropped off the girl and a friend at a house in Pukalani. The women said they didn't know the injured girl but did know Kala, who is called "Chica."
Later that morning, after she went home, Butchart Kalama was taken to the Kula Hospital emergency room by her grandmother.
In his closing arguments, Ball noted that the term "ground and pound" was said "so casually" by Kuailani.
"Girls are doing this; girls are watching this," he said.
He questioned why ultimate fighting events have been held at Maui County's War Memorial complex. "Have we somehow sanctioned girls to do this? Have we let loose the dogs of violence on Maui?" Ball said. "And are we saying it's all Chica's fault when kids act out at a drunken party at 1:30 in the morning?"
Kala is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 25 on the second-degree assault charge, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
Judge Joel August presided over the trial that began Sept. 21.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.