WAILUKU - A man who illegally entered a Makawao home and assaulted a resident last year was sentenced last week to a one-year jail term as part of five years' probation.
Pakluke Lau, 36, who is also known as Pakiuke Lau, was given credit for about nine months he has already spent in jail.
He had pleaded no contest to first-degree burglary, with the prosecution dismissing charges of second-degree robbery and interfering with reporting of an emergency in the June 26, 2011, incident.
Shortly before 8 that morning, a Piikea Place resident reported that Lau entered his home through an unlocked door without permission in an apparent attempt to find his girlfriend, according to court records. Lau pushed past the resident, who knows Lau, and went down a hallway to check a bedroom where the resident's girlfriend was.
After the man pulled down a blanket to show that Lau's girlfriend wasn't in the bed, Lau turned and punched the resident in the head, causing him to fall, court records show. The man reported being punched multiple times in the head before Lau grabbed a cellphone from the resident's hand as he tried to call 911.
After Lau left in a silver Toyota pickup truck, police went to Lau's residence on Nolu Road in Haiku and found him outside talking on the Makawao man's cellphone.
The man suffered a fractured facial bone, according to court records.
"There appeared to have been alcohol involved," said Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds. "There was a great deal of violence, which is reflected not only in this incident but in the defendant's past history.
"Whatever situation there was between the defendant and the complainant, this defendant handled it entirely inappropriately and entirely illegally."
Simonds asked the judge to impose an 18-month jail term for Lau.
According to court records, Lau has prior convictions for second-degree assault, first-degree criminal trespassing, third-degree assault, simple trespassing, harassment, violating an order for protection, first-degree burglary and contempt of court.
Defense attorney Matthew Nardi said Lau's bad decision was to hang out with the Makawao man.
He said what happened was a "turning point" for Lau, who had one of his children born while he was in jail. "That did have a substantial impact on him," Nardi said. "He realizes this is it, he's not a kid anymore. He can't be selfish."
Nardi said Lau's girlfriend and her mother were in court to support Lau. "That support is something he's largely missed growing up," Nardi said.
Nardi said Lau had voluntarily remained in jail so he could begin serving his time.
But 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said he denied Lau's request to be released on supervision after the prosecution reported that the Makawao man was in fear of Lau. Shortly after the incident, Lau had confronted the Makawao man at a party and he had to barricade himself in a bathroom, according to the prosecution.
In court, Lau said he knew "I can't go back to my selfish ways."
"I'm a father of two beautiful children that I cherish dearly," he said. "I really want to be in their lives, to be what a father should be to them."
Bissen said letters from those who know Lau described experiences in his youth "that no one should have to experience."
"That is not being used as an excuse, but certainly that allows for some insight," Bissen said.
"In this case, you let your temper get the best of you, which you have done in the past," the judge told Lau. "At this age, you've got to start slowing down."
Lau was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
"I don't know if you've ever received a break before, but you are receiving one today" Bissen told Lau after ordering the one-year jail term. "So don't squander that, make the best of that."