WAILUKU - A judge told a woman that her "hot-headedness" had to stop, as she was sentenced Wednesday to a one-year jail term for stabbing a man in the back at a homeless encampment in Kihei.
Amanda Blizzard, 35, also was placed on five years' probation, with the possibility of early release from jail to enter a residential drug treatment program.
Blizzard was arrested the night of Feb. 9 after a 32-year-old man reported being attacked at the encampment on West Welakahao Road, police said. The man told police he was bending over to pick up a piece of wood when he felt something hit him in the back and turned to see Blizzard.
Police said the man was stabbed with a pointed hammer. Afterward, he managed to go to his brother's house and medics were called.
Blizzard had pleaded no contest to second-degree assault.
While Blizzard's behavior that night might seem to be a "bizarre, almost random act of violence," her attorney, Chris Dunn, said Blizzard is a petite woman who was living at the homeless encampment and had seen the man act violently toward others in the past. Dunn said Blizzard saw the man reaching for a piece of wood and believed he planned to use it against a friend of hers.
"She perceives herself to be doing something at the time to aid somebody else," Dunn said.
The victim said he was getting the wood to do a construction project at the encampment.
Dunn said Blizzard has a long his history of substance abuse, including an addiction to prescription medication and use of crystal methamphetamine and opiates. "All of that is complicating and clouding her thinking at the time," he said.
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo followed a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution in sentencing Blizzard.
The night of the attack, the victim wasn't acting violently, Loo noted.
"He was not doing anything to you," she told Blizzard. "I don't like how you reacted because you thought he was doing something wrong. That's your problem - you just react. You need to think. This hot-headedness needs to stop.
"Even thought you may be a lot smaller than him, that doesn't mean it's fair to stab him in the back."
Blizzard was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to undergo anger management and mental health treatment. If she is released from jail to enter treatment, Blizzard was ordered to remain in treatment until she is discharged.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.