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Waiehu woman gets probation for Walmart stabbing

Lori Ann Kawaakoa took paring knife to boyfriend’s arm

WAILUKU — With her attorney saying anger and mental health were issues, a woman was released from jail Friday and was placed on four years’ probation for stabbing her then-boyfriend in the arm in a Kahului store.

Lori Ann Kawaakoa, 32, of Waiehu was given credit for more than nine months she had spent in jail.

She had pleaded no contest to second-degree assault in the stabbing Sept. 22, 2017, at Walmart.

That night, Kawaakoa got into an argument with her boyfriend in the store when she took a paring knife off the shelf and stabbed him in his right arm, said Deputy Prosecutor Joanne Hicks. She said he suffered a puncture wound that was less than an inch deep.

“I understand what I had done,” Kawaakoa said in court. “I’m sorry for it.”

Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said Kawaakoa had been found mentally unfit to proceed in her court case before she was stabilized. She didn’t want to pursue a mental health defense, Lowenthal said.

He said she could “with the correct guidance, supervision and, perhaps most importantly, anti-psychotic medication, lead a law-abiding life.”

“This is a sad case,” Lowenthal said. “This is a person who has severe mental health issues, suffers from delusions, suffers from hallucinations, but fortunately has some of the insight to know that is so.”

That night, there was anger between Kawaakoa and her boyfriend, Lowenthal said.

“It is unfortunate that it did happen in some respects,” he said. “But in other respects, this could be a turning point for Lori Ann. She can do well.”

Kawaakoa and the victim are no longer in a relationship, Lowenthal said.

“He’s not a vegetable that you can pare,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said in sentencing Kawaakoa. “He’s a person. He’s a living human being. Luckily the damage you did wasn’t horrible, wasn’t life threatening. But he didn’t deserve to get stabbed.

“Maybe you were off your meds. Maybe there was anger involved,” Loo said. “You don’t go around stabbing people that you like or you love or you’re dating. There’s other ways to break up with a boyfriend. You walk away. You write him a ‘dear John’ letter.”

As part of her probation, Kawaakoa was ordered to work with her probation officer to complete anger management classes and to perform 200 hours of community service. She also was ordered to write a letter apologizing to the victim, not consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to obtain and maintain mental health treatment.

“If you don’t take the medicine, things like this happen,” Judge Loo said. “Innocent people get hurt.”

In another sentencing Friday, a 21-year-old Wailuku man was placed on four years’ probation for trying to remove a battery from a rental Jeep in the parking lot of the Sheraton Maui Resort in Lahaina.

Kaelen Hoopii said he was intoxicated at the time.

Hoopii was with a friend who knew how to get into the vehicle, Hicks said. She said Hoopii wanted a car battery and they cut the cables to the battery but ended up not taking the battery and damaging the Jeep.

Judge Loo noted that the crime occurred on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. The same day, Hoopii went to the probation department and took a drug test that was positive for methamphetamine use, Loo said.

“Valentine’s Day, red roses,” she said. “You got caught red-handed.”

Hoopii had pleaded no contest to first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

He was given credit for more than eight months he spent in jail before being released Friday. Hoopii was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to perform 200 hours of community service.

He was ordered to write a letter apologizing to Avis Rent A Car.

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