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Lahaina man pledges to stay out of trouble for family’s sake

The Maui News

WAILUKU — After saying he would stay out of trouble for the sake of his family, a Lahaina man was placed on five years’ probation for abusing his girlfriend by impeding her breathing last year.

Patrick Vasquez, 39, was ordered to serve a six-month jail term but was allowed to be released from jail while he goes to work five days a week.

Vasquez had pleaded no contest to felony abuse.

“What is concerning is that the strangulation occurred in the presence of their children,” Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro said when Vasquez was sentenced Sept. 3.

His longtime girlfriend said Vasquez had made changes after being arrested in February 2018.

“I’m not saying that what happened back then didn’t happen,” she said in court. “I am saying everybody makes mistakes, and we all deserve a second chance.

“It’s hard when you grow up all your life with people not wanting you. And when you do find a family that really, truly loves you, you don’t know how to act. A lot of times you revert to your old ways.”

Before he turned himself in on a warrant for violating requirements of his release about a month before his sentencing, Vasquez had been working for the “longest he’s held a job,” she said.

He missed their daughter’s first day of kindergarten, she said. He has been a father figure to her older children, she said.

“He is genuinely trying to break the cycle,” said Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal.

Vasquez said he ran away from home as a teenager and spent a year in a youth correctional facility, then was incarcerated at the Maui Community Correctional Center at age 18.

“Most of my young adult life, I have been in and out of jail,” he said. “I’m done.”

Vasquez said he had moved his family to a more stable place to live away from Front Street and proposed to his girlfriend. He asked to serve the jail term on weekends so he could work to help support his family.

“They make me whole,” he said. “They’re my rock. They’re my everything.

“I can guarantee you this is the last time you’ll see me, ’cause my kids need more, more than I need myself.”

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen followed a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution in sentencing Vasquez.

“The biggest difference between you today and you as a younger man is that your consequences affect other people,” Bissen told Vasquez. “Your actions affect children and your soon-to-be wife.”

Bissen noted that Vasquez’s criminal history includes 85 arrests and 20 convictions. Vasquez violated conditions of his recent release by abusing methamphetamine and marijuana, Bissen said.

“Methamphetamine has a huge impact on our society, not just on the individual,” he said. “What it does, we know causes devastation. I was very saddened to see you reverted to that.”

Bissen said Vasquez shouldn’t keep hurting the family that had forgiven him.

“Despite the situation you find yourself in, you’re a very lucky man,” Bissen said.

In another case, Vasquez had pleaded no contest to first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and third-degree criminal property damage.

A woman reported she and her boyfriend were approached by Vasquez and co-defendant Daniel Olaso at about 10 p.m. Jan. 29 while camping near Mile Marker 13.5 on Honoapiilani Highway in Olowalu.

After a claim that the woman owed money, she said her car was keyed, her cellphone was grabbed and she was pulled out of the car.

Olaso, 20, of Kahului was given a chance to keep convictions off his record if he follows court requirements for the next four years when he was sentenced Tuesday by 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill.

Olaso had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft and third-degree criminal property damage.

He was released from jail after 75 days and was ordered to pay $1,200 in restitution for the victim’s iPhone.

Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said Olaso planned to get drug treatment, then apply for housing at the Lahaina shelter.