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One-year jail term ordered for man who assaulted ex-girlfriend

WAILUKU — A one-year jail term was ordered for a Kahului man convicted of assaulting and abusing his ex-girlfriend and driving stolen cars.

Jonathan Awai, 33, also was placed on four years’ probation when he was sentenced Friday.

In four criminal cases, Awai had pleaded no contest to two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second-degree assault, abuse, third-degree assault and interfering with reporting of an emergency.

Two cases last year involved violence against his girlfriend at the time, who reported being traumatized, said Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro. 

After entering no-contest pleas in three cases, Awai was released on supervision May 4. He was arrested May 26 after allegedly not complying with an ordered 14-day quarantine following his release from jail, according to court records.

Miyashiro said Awai was again released on supervision July 1 before he was arrested July 4 on a new charge of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Instead of looking for work or making arrangements for drug treatment while he was out of custody, “he resorted back to criminal behavior,” Miyashiro said.

Defense attorney Gerald Johnson said Awai had permission to drive the car in his most recent case, but the owner called police after Awai didn’t return the car on time.

Referring to Awai’s lengthy criminal history, Johnson said Awai “knows he’s made a lot of mistakes, but he is turning the corner.”

Court records show he was sentenced to a 10-year prison term for second-degree robbery in a 2008 case.

Awai said he wanted to address his drug and anger issues by participating in a treatment program in Wailuku. “I just ready to change my life . . . make my family proud,” he said.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen, who followed a plea agreement in imposing the sentence, said Awai’s behavior while he had been released on supervision offered a glimpse into how he would fare on probation.

“You’re a grown man, you know right from wrong,” Bissen told Awai. “The question is do you have the inner fortitude to choose right.”

As part of his probation, Awai was ordered to complete domestic violence intervention classes. He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to have no contact with his ex-girlfriend.

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

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