WAILUKU - A man described as the lookout and getaway driver was sentenced Friday to an 18-month jail term for his part in a robbery attempt at Minit Stop in Wailuku.
Stanceford Kaina Jr., 23, could be released early from jail after one year to enter a long-term residential treatment program.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to change my lifestyle," Kaina said.
STANCEFORD KAINA Jr. Receives 18-month term
He thanked about a dozen family members and friends who were in the courtroom gallery to show support for him.
Originally charged with first-degree robbery, Kaina had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of first-degree attempted theft in connection with the robbery attempt July 24.
At 6:50 a.m. that day, police said co-defendants Joyner Recheungel and Rowan Sombelon wore hooded sweatshirts and masks as they entered the store at Main Street and Central Avenue. Recheungel held what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol, and Sombelon had a collapsible baton, police said.
They were apprehended nearby by police after running from the store as police sirens were heard approaching. Police reported recovering the weapons, including the pistol that turned out to be a pellet gun.
Shortly afterward, Kaina was arrested when he was stopped and ticketed for speeding on Honoapiilani Highway in Maalaea, police said.
Since his arrest, he has been held in lieu of $65,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
"Of the three players involved, you were probably the least culpable," 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Kaina. "However, you were involved."
Referring to the phrase "birds of a feather flock together," she said: "All of you were in this nest together. You and your two friends all flocked together."
The judge noted that the three had been doing drugs together before the robbery, according to police reports. At the time, Kaina was on probation for first-degree burglary and had been given a chance to keep the conviction off his record if he complied with court requirements.
Defense attorney Andrew Martin said Kaina "has a wicked methamphetamine addiction that's been going on for at least five years."
Kaina has participated in drug treatment more than once before, Martin said.
"He has not been successful, but he's been willing to go into treatment," Martin said.
He said it was significant that Kaina had admitted to relapsing "because it shows an individual that wants help."
Kaina needs to complete a long-term residential drug treatment program to get the help he needs, Martin said.
"His crimes have been crimes of convenience to support his addiction," Martin said.
With the judge following recommendations of a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution, Kaina also was placed on four years' probation in the robbery case.
Loo said Kaina needed to complete a long-term drug treatment program to stay out of trouble and out of prison.
"There are no shortcuts," she said.
Kaina's deferral was revoked in his 2011 burglary case, and he was placed on five years' probation.
He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs, including medical marijuana, and to stay away from all Minit Stop stores.
Recheungel, 25, of Kahului and Sombelon, 24, of Wailuku are awaiting sentencing.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.