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1-year jail term ordered in abuse, drugs, theft case

Elijah Apo asked to be released from jail to enter drug treatment next week

WAILUKU — A one-year jail term was ordered Thursday for a Kahului man convicted of abusing his girlfriend and possessing drugs and a stolen dirt bike.

Elijah Apo, 30, also was placed on four years’ probation as part of his sentence.

Apo had asked to be released from jail so he could enter residential drug treatment next week after he was accepted into a program.

“He’s been unequivocal in his desire to start treatment,” said defense attorney Cody Minatodani. “He has the support of his mom and dad. They are salt-of-the-earth people. The change has to start somewhere.”

In three criminal cases, Apo had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft, two counts of third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, possessing an electric gun, abuse and second-degree terroristic threatening.

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution allowed the state to seek up to nine months in jail for Apo.

Deputy Prosecutor Johann Smith said Apo deserved the jail term.

He was convicted of one violent crime for attacking his girlfriend while she was holding her child March 10, Smith said. He said the woman was pushed against the wall when Apo attacked, harassed and threatened to kill her.

In another case, on Sept. 19, 2017, Apo was found in possession of a stolen 2017 KTM 85Sx dirt bike that was among several taken in a burglary of a motorcycle store, Smith said. Police reported that several off-road motorcycles were stolen in the early-morning hours of Aug. 25, 2017, from a Cycle City Maui warehouse on Alamaha Street in Kahului.

On April 5, Apo was arrested with 20 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and $3,000 cash as well as scales and drug packets, Smith said. Apo was arrested near Waiehu and Paukukalo parks, according to court records.

“He doesn’t have a job yet he’s walking around with $3,000 and all this meth,” Smith said.

He said a letter that Apo wrote to the court seemed “hollow.”

“He’s just saying words about rehab that everybody learns,” Smith said. “There’s no responsibility for these crimes. He doesn’t apologize to the woman he hurt. He doesn’t admit or take personal responsibility.”

If Apo continues on the path that his friends have taken, he will end up in prison, Smith said.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s a serious thing to him, and it’s a serious thing to the state,” Smith said.

Minatodani said Apo knows what he did was wrong.

“I believe in change,” Apo said in court. “I took time in jail, I learned how to become a better person.”

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Apo to the one-year jail term as part of four years’ probation. Apo was ordered not to possess illegal drugs or alcohol and to attend anger management or domestic violence intervention classes.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.