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Man with a long history of felonies sentenced to 20 years

Schillaci arrested with meth while on probation for drug, gun charges

Thomas Schillaci appears in 2nd Circuit Court for his sentencing Tuesday on felony drug charges. Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones and defense attorney Michael Green appeared by videoconference for the hearing. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

WAILUKU — A man who was on probation for drug and gun charges when he was arrested with a quantity of crystal methamphetamine was resentenced Tuesday to a 20-year prison term.

Thomas Schillaci, 54, of Kihei also was sentenced to 10-year prison terms on drug charges in his latest case.

He will serve all of the prison terms in his two cases at the same time.

“He is a career felon who, by his behavior, has caused a lot of harm to this community over the decades,” said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones. “Even after a lengthy term of incarceration, he could not change his behavior to live a law-abiding lifestyle.”

In his latest case, Schillaci was arrested Dec. 4, 2018, when police Crime Reduction Unit officers executed a search warrant at his residence on Kaiola Place.

The search led to the recovery of 122 grams of crystal methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana, $2,589 in cash and other evidence, Jones said.

At the time, Schillaci was on 10 years’ probation, imposed Jan. 6, 2016, for first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, two counts of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, prohibited possession of a firearm, prohibited possession of firearm ammunition and second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana in a 2014 case.

In that case, police recovered a Ruger .357-caliber revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition, 2 pounds of methamphetamine, 13 pounds of marijuana and $4,803 in cash, Jones said.

She said Schillaci has “a lengthy felony criminal history and is a multistate felon.”

In his most recent case, Schillaci had pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, with other charges dismissed in exchange for his pleas.

While he faced 10-year prison terms for those convictions, Schillaci was given a 20-year prison sentence for first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug in his 2014 case, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill noted.

Defense attorney Michael Green said he would argue for Schillaci’s release when he appears before the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

Cahill said that while Green’s skills are renowned, “I think you’re going to have a hard sell to the paroling authority, given Mr. Schillaci’s background.”

“I frankly don’t see how they can let him out before he serves the full sentence,” Cahill said.

Schillaci’s criminal history includes a conviction for manslaughter in the June 3, 1996, shooting in Olinda of William “Billy” Simpson Jr.

Simpson had gone to the Piiholo Road home that Schillaci and his girlfriend were renting, collecting rent at the request of the homeowner. Simpson, 40, died after being shot in the head with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

In 2007, after an appeal in his case, Schillaci was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for manslaughter and a firearms charge.

Schillaci also has convictions for multiple counts of prohibited possession of a firearm and prohibited possession of firearm ammunition, as well as drug charges.

He has 1986 convictions in New Jersey for forgery and fraud, and cocaine possession.

After serving time in the manslaughter case, Schillaci had the opportunity to return to the community, only to be arrested again, Jones noted.

“Based on his behavior, long-term incarceration is absolutely appropriate,” she said.

In sentencing Schillaci on Tuesday, Judge Cahill found that the defendant has assets and could pay $610 in fees.

Schillaci was reported to be a landlord and property manager, Cahill said.

Despite being in and out of prison during his adult life and “leading a life of crime, selling drugs,” Schillaci had accumulated assets to buy property, including houses in foreclosure, Cahill said.

“The court does find Mr. Schillaci has assets that can be liquidated through his wife to pay those fees,” Cahill said.

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

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