WAILUKU - A Haliimaile man was placed on five years' probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to a reduced arson charge for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a house while the residents were asleep.
Richard Ingram, 55, was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution for damage to an outside wall of the residence on Moi Place in Kihei. He also was ordered to pay a $500 fine for driving without a license.
Ingram wouldn't have thrown the Molotov cocktail at the residence in the early-morning hours of March 22 if he hadn't been stabbed by resident David Lane earlier that month, said defense attorney William Sloper.
"It was a pretty brutal stabbing in the gut," Sloper said.
He said Ingram, who was taken to the hospital after being severely injured March 9, was upset that Lane hadn't been arrested for the stabbing. During the delay in prosecution, Lane had contacted Ingram "with further statements of aggression," Sloper said.
He said Ingram acted in frustration when he threw the Molotov cocktail.
Ingram had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of third-degree arson and driving without a license.
He asked for a chance to keep the convictions off his record, "based on the very unusual circumstances that led to the offense," Sloper said.
According to police, the stabbing occurred while Ingram was at a friend's house in Kihei and met with his former girlfriend, who had called him. The woman's boyfriend, Lane, showed up and a confrontation led to a fight outside the house, police reported.
Ingram later told police he felt pain and found a laceration near his upper left abdomen. A couple of hours later, shortly after midnight March 10, Ingram was driving himself to the hospital, with thin strips of tape holding the laceration together, when a police officer made a traffic stop on Ingram's vehicle in Wailuku. The officer called an ambulance to take Ingram to the hospital.
In court Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook opposed Ingram's request for a chance to keep the convictions off his record.
"Revenge is not a justification for trying to burn down a residence with people inside," Cook said.
He said Ingram has a criminal record of 24 prior arrests and seven convictions, including three for misdemeanor offenses and four for petty misdemeanors or violations.
Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza denied Ingram's request for a deferral.
Ingram planned the offense, going to a service station, buying gas and preparing the Molotov cocktail that he threw at the home, Cardoza noted.
"You not only endangered Mr. Lane, but you caused a house fire," the judge told Ingram.
"When that happens, you have no control over what happens after that," he said. "Obviously, it's completely wrong to take the law into your own hands."
Ingram was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to have no contact with Lane or the Moi Place residence.
Lane, 42, also was ordered to have no contact with Ingram when he was sentenced June 27 for the assault. Lane was ordered to serve a 90-day jail term and was placed on one year's probation after pleading no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree assault, according to court records.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.