WAILUKU - A pregnant woman testified that she thought she was going to die, as her boyfriend pulled the dull edge of a knife across her throat, said he would push her off a cliff and threatened to cut off her toes with pliers while accusing her of cheating on him.
She also described gasping for air after being put in a chokehold and having a rope wound around her neck and being repeatedly punched and hit with a beer bottle, metal pipe and PVC pipe during an ordeal that began at about lunchtime April 1 when they left his mother's house in Haiku and continued as he drove her to Kula, Paia and Napili.
"I waited for the right time to get away," the woman said during a preliminary hearing for Isaiah Shim in Wailuku District Court on Monday.
It was dark when she said that she climbed out of the driver's window of the car while Shim was in a friend's house in Napili and waved down another driver, who took her to the Napili Fire Station.
After hearing testimony at the preliminary hearing, Judge Blaine Kobayashi ruled that there was enough evidence to support charges against Shim, 28, of Kula.
He is charged with nine counts of first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, second-degree terroristic threatening, four counts of second-degree assault, three counts of felony abuse by strangulation, attempted first-degree assault, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.
He is being held in lieu of $567,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
The 25-year-old Waihee woman said that she had been Shim's girlfriend for nearly three years and is five months pregnant. When they left his mother's house that day, she said Shim was angry and called her names while asking if she had been fooling around on him in November.
She said no, but Shim didn't believe her and put her in a headlock so she couldn't breathe, she said.
When he stopped, "all I can remember was feeling like I was going to pass out," she said. "My eyes were rolling back. I was gasping for air."
On the way to his grandparents' house in Kula to get money, she said that Shim stopped on the dirt road known as "Skid Row" near Lower Kula Road, ripped and cut her top off and forced her to walk on a trail with him.
Telling her it was the last place she would see, Shim carried her into a grassy area and pulled her head back while moving the dull side of a knife blade across her throat, she said.
"What were you thinking?" Deputy Prosecutor Simone Polak asked.
"I'm dead," the woman replied.
Shim had her walk to the edge of a cliff and said he would push her off, she said, before having her get back into the car.
When they ran out of gas on the way to his grandparents' house, he had her put on other clothes and walk with him to the house, telling her not to move while he went into the house for "less than a minute," she said.
After getting gas and driving away, she said, Shim continued to accuse her of cheating on him, insisting that he had seen a video of her with a "bunch of guys." She said she lied to him, saying she had been raped to try to appease him.
After he stopped in Makawao to make phone calls to try to get oxycodone, he drove to the Paia Gym. "I told him I don't think the baby was all right . . . because he choked me," she said. "He said, 'Baby is fine.' ''
Shim told her to move to the back seat when a man showed up. The man got into the front seat and started smoking oxycodone with Shim, she said.
After the man left, Shim drove to Paia, then toward Lahaina, where he planned to go to a friend's house to get money. He stopped in sugar cane fields off of Kuihelani Highway after becoming angry when the woman asked him, "Will I ever go home?" she said.
"He told me I would have to go with him and show him every person that raped me," she said.
She said Shim grabbed pliers and her left foot and asked if she had been fooling around with anyone in the past couple of months. After she told him no, he said that "he was cutting off my toes if I didn't tell him the truth," she said.
She said he used the pliers to squeeze her second toe, causing "agonizing pain."
"All I could do is scream and tell him stop," she said.
She said he squeezed two other toes until she lied to him, "telling him what he wanted to hear" by giving the name of another man.
Then, she said that Shim began punching her in the face, pulled down her pants and used his fingers and a beer bottle to sexually assault her. She was bleeding from her nose and mouth.
Shim also grabbed the back of her hair, punched her in the eye and put both hands around her neck so that she again couldn't breathe, she said, before having her get into the back seat of the car. There, she said he used a metal pipe to hit her on the legs and head and a PVC pipe to hit her feet, toes, hands and knees.
She said he twice wrapped a rope around her neck and tightened it so that she had trouble breathing, then grabbed a knife, holding the sharp point to her throat.
"He told me if I move I'm dead," she said.
She said she suffered three cigarette burns - below and above her left knee and on her left hip.
After Shim got into the driver's seat and left the cane fields, he continually turned to the back seat while driving, using his fist and a beer bottle to hit her, the woman said.
Shim stopped again just past the pali on Honoapiilani Highway, grabbed the woman so that she was facing down and began punching her in the back, she said. He got out of the car, grabbed her leg and slammed the door on it, she said.
When he got to his friend's house in Napili, "he told me if I was to leave, he's going to hurt me more," the woman said.
She said she got out of the car through the window so that he wouldn't hear the door opening.
The woman said she was still in pain after suffering bruising all over her body.
Lahaina police Detective Garret Tihada testified that the woman's eyes and lip were swollen and she was covered with cuts and bruises when he saw her at 9:40 that night in the hospital emergency room.
"She was in pain every time she would try to move," Tihada said. "She was crying. Her speech was real soft."
Police arrested Shim at about 1 a.m. the next day in Kula.
When he was questioned, Shim denied choking the woman but said he was trying to hold on to her as she tried to jump out of the car three or four times Upcountry, Tihada said. He said Shim also said that the woman spit in his face and punched him and threatened to kill herself with the knife.
Shim denied using pliers that day, Tihada said. While Shim acknowledged hitting the woman "no more than 10 times" with the PVC pipe, he said he didn't hit her with the metal pipe, "which he said he uses for protection," Tihada said.
In a search of Shim's car, police found two pliers, a 12-inch-long PVC pipe, a 22-inch-long metal pipe, two knives, cigarette butts, beer bottles and two pieces of rope, Tihada said.
Shim is scheduled to be arraigned April 17 in 2nd Circuit Court.
According to the complaint against Shim, the prosecution may seek extended sentencing. That could lead to sentences of life in prison with the possibility of parole if he is convicted of the more serious charges against him.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.