WAILUKU - A Waiehu man has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman who was assaulted, dragged into bushes and raped as she was walking home on Kahekili Highway three years ago.
The sentencing hearing April 27 for Brandon Kahai, 30, was the first time the victim had the opportunity to address the court and speak about what happened, said First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera.
"The attack was so brutal she couldn't even testify at the grand jury, so we had to have a detective testify in her place," he said.
He said the victim, who is related to Kahai, had her jaw broken in several places and her head split open in the attack in the early-morning hours of Feb. 9, 2009.
She had been drinking with Kahai in the evening before ending up at his home in Waiehu Kou to continue drinking, according to court records.
The 27-year-old woman left Kahai's house and was walking home when he followed her in his car, getting out at the Waiehu Terrace subdivision, walking up to her and striking her in the face so she fell backward and hit the pavement, Kahai told police.
She was semiconscious and moaning when Kahai dragged her into brush off the roadway, removed some of her clothing and sexually assaulted her, according to court records.
Kahai had pleaded no contest to first-degree sexual assault, two counts of third-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and second-degree assault.
In court Friday, the victim described how her relationships have been affected and how she no longer feels safe, Rivera said. She also spoke of how Kahai "flaunted his freedom" while free on bail for the past three years as the case was pending, Rivera said.
Twenty to 30 friends and family members of Kahai were in the courtroom for the sentencing.
Many wrote letters to the court asking that Kahai be given a second chance, Rivera said.
"But the victim doesn't get a second chance," he said. "Once it happens, she's a victim forever.
"Not one of the letters acknowledged her as a victim, even though they're family."
Kahai, who has no prior criminal record, declined to speak in court.
His attorney, David Sereno, said Kahai had entered a conditional plea and will file an appeal within 30 days.
He will appeal a judge's ruling denying a defense request to suppress Kahai's statement to police, Sereno said. He said that if Kahai prevails in his appeal, his case would be sent back to 2nd Circuit Court for a trial.
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo imposed the sentence, ordering Kahai to pay $1,239 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.