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Public assault of ex-girlfriend leads to prison time

WAILUKU — A man who was convicted of abusing his then-girlfriend, even after she had obtained a court order for protection, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

Coburn Kaimiola Jr., 36, of Wailuku committed the violent acts in front of others, including the manager and customers of Takamiya Market in Happy Valley, who saw Kaimiola dragging the victim by her hair out of the store, said Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal.

“Domestic violence crimes are typically done in secret or in private or in the house,” Segal said. “These crimes were in public. They were brazen. It shows the defendant really has no concern for the consequences of his behavior or for the effects of what he has been perpetrating.”

Segal said Kaimiola also abused the woman in front of children. “People were so concerned they were threatening to call the police,” Segal said.

In another instance, Kaimiola slapped the woman in the back of her head while she was sitting in a car parked at Pukalani Community Center, according to court records.

In three criminal cases, Kaimiola had pleaded no contest to third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, abuse, felony abuse, violating an order for protection, second-degree theft, interfering with reporting of an emergency and first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

The crimes occurred from January 2018 to February this year, according to court records.

In court Friday, Kaimiola asked to be placed on probation so he could enter drug treatment.

“I’m a different person while I’m sober,” he said.

Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said Kaimiola was remorseful.

“The person on Market Street fighting, that’s not him,” Raidmae said. “That’s a meth version of him.

“Unfortunately, this addiction kind of migrated into this relationship. It created a relationship that was so toxic, so fueled by drugs, that it became violent. That relationship was never given an opportunity to be functional because it was so crowded in drugs.”

After being jailed for the past eight months, Kaimiola has “the clarity he didn’t have when he’s walking around pulling people’s hair on Market Street,” Raidmae said.

“He can use the clarity he’s gained to catapult him through probation,” the lawyer said.

An agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended five years’ probation and a one-year jail term for Kaimiola, with the provision for early release into a drug treatment program after nine months.

Segal also asked that Kaimiola be ordered to have “no contact whatsoever with the victim in this case for the entire period of probation.”

Speaking in court, the victim’s sister, mother and friends said Kaimiola needed to be punished for what he did.

Her sister said the victim suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“My sister can’t even function right now,” she said. “She can’t even go on with her day without thinking of what he’s done to her.

“He doesn’t even care about boundaries at all. We had a TRO. He came to my house numerous times trying to get ahold of her.

“His presence is threatening.”

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said he had to consider whether Kaimiola was a good candidate for probation and whether drug treatment would reduce his propensity for violence.

Kaimiola said he had been through drug treatment twice on Hawaii island, including through the Big Island Drug Court, which provides treatment and supervision as an alternative to incarceration.

Bissen said those programs were in “the top end of drug treatment we have in our state.”

Kaimiola said he had been doing well for two and a half years before deciding to end his participation in Drug Court because he couldn’t get the program to end a no-contact order with his mother based on her past. After being terminated from participating in the program, he was sentenced to a five-year prison term for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Kaimiola said his mother’s boyfriend at the time was the victim in his 2002 assault conviction.

Judge Bissen said he considered multiple factors, including Kaimiola’s criminal history, in sentencing Kaimiola to prison and jail terms to be served at the same time.

In domestic violence cases, the goals of sentencing are “No. 1, to stop the violence, and No. 2, to protect the abused party, to protect any children,” Bissen said.

He said other goals were to hold defendants accountable for violent behavior, to rehabilitate and “to convey to the public that domestic violence will not be tolerated in our community.”

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