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One-year jail term ordered in abuse case

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A 37-year-old man, who punched, choked and ripped the clothes off of his on-and-off-again girlfriend last year, was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen also placed Larry Yamada Jr. on five years’ probation and ordered him not to have contact with the victim. Yamada was taken to jail after the hearing.

Yamada pleaded no contest to felony abuse of a family or household member.

At the sentencing June 25, Bissen told Yamada that “this is just as bad as it gets.”

“She had to save herself,” Bissen added, alluding to how the victim pretended to be unconscious and fled after Yamada went to sleep in the car they were in.

“I lost control that night. We were both arguing,” Yamada said during sentencing.

“Why did you hit her?” Bissen asked.

Yamada said the victim threw her phone at his face. He acknowledged that he should have defused the situation by walking away.

In asking for one year in jail and five years’ probation, Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro said that shortly after midnight on May 10, 2019, police observed the victim with a laceration, her right eye swollen shut and bruised, a hematoma on her forehead and other injuries.

The victim suffered from pain to her face and neck.

Miyashiro said the victim was in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and Yamada in the passenger seat when they began arguing. Yamada struck the victim and yelled “shut up.”

He began ripping off the victim’s clothes and beating, head butting and choking her, Miyashiro said.

“She thought she was going to black out,” Miyashiro added.

They went from Yamada’s residence to Lower Waiehu Beach Road and parked there. When Yamada fell asleep, the victim fled.

Miyashiro said the victim did not suffer any broken bones but has not completely healed emotionally. She struggled with whether to show up in court for the sentencing but in the end decided it was best not to.

Defense attorney Cary Virtue said Yamada takes responsibility for his actions. Yamada on his own has taken classes and knows that there are no excuses for what he did.

Virtue asked for less than one year in jail and the possibility of weekends in jail but acknowledged that would be difficult with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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