WAILUKU - A 44-year-old man was sentenced last week to a one-year jail term for an attack with a baseball bat and a truck antenna on a woman and a man at Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului last year.
Owen Murray, who gave no local address, was placed on five years' probation and ordered to pay $340 in restitution.
"I regret my actions that night," Murray said in court Friday. "I'd just like to apologize to the victims. I have my issues that I'm dealing with. I got a long way to go."
Murray had pleaded no contest to charges of second-degree assault, second-degree theft, third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal property damage and interfering with reporting of an emergency in the May 3, 2010, incident.
The assault occurred at about 9:40 p.m. on a dirt roadway at the park.
According to court records, the woman and a man were in a red Ford truck when another vehicle drove up directly in front of the truck. Murray and co-defendant John "Cowboy" Eckhardt got out of the vehicle and approached the truck.
Murray broke off the antenna from the front fender of the truck and began striking the man, who had gotten out of the passenger side of the truck, according to court records. He was hit at least 10 times on the top of his skull, suffering lacerations.
The woman also reported being confronted by Murray and Eckhardt outside the truck. She said Murray took her phone when she tried to call 911 and hit her in the head and hand with a baseball bat. She was on the ground when she was kicked by Eckhardt and heard Murray say, "Put her under the vehicle. Let's run her over," according to court records.
When police officers arrived in the area, they reported seeing what appeared to be blood on the floorboards of the truck. The woman was sitting in the passenger side holding her hand in pain, and the man's face and beard were covered in blood.
While the man was treated at the scene by medics, the woman was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center emergency room, where she was treated for a fracture to her right hand, according to court records.
Murray and Eckhardt were gone when police arrived but were later identified and arrested.
Defense attorney Jon Apo said the account of what happened didn't mention that the confrontation began after the woman yelled and swore at Murray and others in his vehicle and turned around so the headlights of her truck were shining on Murray and the others.
"Once Owen goes and confronts this victim, things start getting chaotic because people start coming out of the bushes," Apo said. "At some point, Owen is getting attacked."
Apo said the woman "parked where she did because she knew she would have fellow campers come to back her up, which is exactly what happened."
But Deputy Prosecutor Simone Polak said the woman yelled at Murray only after someone in his group of four men who were drinking threw a beer can at her truck. She said the woman drove about 100 yards to her campsite when Murray's vehicle pulled up. Both vehicles had headlights on, Polak said.
She said only Murray and Eckhardt described seeing other people in the bushes.
"The victims are not well liked for the reason they don't engage in drinking and drugging," Polak said. "They don't quite fit in."
She said both victims are more than 60 years old.
Even if the woman had sworn and shined headlights on Murray as he claimed, "two wrongs don't make a right," said 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo.
She said Murray probably shouldn't have approached the woman.
According to court records, Murray has a criminal history of 21 arrests and six convictions.
If he gets in trouble again, he faces a prison sentence, Loo said.
Eckhardt, 58, who pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree assault of the woman, was sentenced in May to a one-year jail term.
Both Murray and Eckhardt were ordered to stay away from the victims and from Kanaha Beach Park.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.