WAILUKU - A man who said he was drunk when he took a bike from a porch and struggled with its owner was sentenced Tuesday to a six-month jail term for robbery, burglary and assault charges.
Daniel Stephens, 29, who has no local address, also was placed on five years' probation.
He was arrested in February after a Kihei resident heard noise outside his house and confronted Stephens, who told police he went to retrieve the bicycle for a friend. The resident told police he struggled with the stranger and was hit.
When the man's dog appeared, Stephens ran.
Deputy Public Defender Annalisa Bernard said Stephens had been drinking with friends in Kihei town that night. "He was very intoxicated," she said.
"He acknowledged what he did was wrong," Bernard said. "He acknowledged it was because of alcohol."
Stephens had done well in high school and had attended college, she said.
"He can do very well in society," she said. "He just needs to work on the alcohol issue."
Stephens had pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault.
Although he said he was taking the bike for a friend, Deputy Prosecutor Jerrie Sheppard said a witness reported that Stephens had been wandering in the neighborhood earlier that day, appearing to be casing the area.
The victim, who had been transitioning out of the Navy, was living in Kihei with his wife, children and pet, Sheppard said.
"He chose Maui because he thought it was a nice place, only to have his farewell be a robbery on his porch at night," Sheppard said. "If it hadn't been for his dog, he might have been hurt."
Stephens said the resident came out of the house as soon as Stephens jumped over the railing and picked up the bike. Stephens said he ran, with the resident holding a phone and piece of sharpening steel while chasing Stephens into a wooded area. He said he was arrested the next morning as he was going surfing, based on the description given by the resident.
Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza noted that Stephens reportedly had consumed eight shots of vodka that night. "The reality is when that happens, your memory and recollection of the events may be distorted," Cardoza said.
He followed a plea agreement in sentencing Stephens, who had about a week of his jail term remaining when he was sentenced.
Stephens was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to participate in anger management.
"In a way, the only thing holding you back is you," Cardoza told Stephens. "That's a great scenario for someone to have as long as they can remain committed to their recovery."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.