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Man gets 5 years in prison for three incidents of abuse

He was accused of threatening woman in front of children

WAILUKU — For acts a judge described as “sheer violence,” a 30-year-old Kahului man was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for stabbing a woman, threatening her and abusing her in front of children.

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill handed down the sentence to Richard Nakoa and gave him credit for the approximately 13 months he has already spent in jail.

Cahill noted how the children must have felt at the time of the abuses.

“I can’t imagine what was going through their mind when they were watching this,” Cahill said.

In weighing the defense’s argument and Nakoa’s plea to receive substance abuse treatment instead of prison, Cahill said that sentencing is not only about treatment “but punishment.”

Nakoa said during the hearing that he wanted a “second chance,” as he has six sons.

“You’ll get that chance when you get out of prison,” Cahill replied.

But to assist with obtaining treatment, Cahill waived fees for Nakoa, saying he didn’t want it to impede him from trying to get into a treatment program, as Nakoa has little employment history.

“First and foremost it’s drugs,” Nakoa said during sentencing. “I’m not proud of it.”

He added that he didn’t want to be like his father.

In asking for the five-year prison term, Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal said, “There’s no option besides put him in prison.”

Segal said there was a “clear pattern of violence.”

It started when Nakoa threatened and head-butted a female household member. He also threatened to cut the same woman open with scissors and eventually stabbed her.

Segal said all three incidents — which occurred on Dec. 9, 2019, June 26, 2020 and July 5, 2020, according to court records — took place in front of children.

But Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said Nakoa is a product of his past and had been exposed to domestic violence.

Raidmae said Nakoa grew up having no resources and no parents, and that his sister had raised him.

“He never had resources. He never had a shot,” Raidmae said.

Raidmae asked that Nakoa be given probation and credit for the time he has served in jail. He added that he had programs lined up for Nakoa to get into if he was released on probation.

In accordance with a plea agreement, Nakoa plead no contest to two counts of felony abuse of a family or household member, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, second-degree assault and second-degree burglary. Other charges in his three criminal cases were dismissed according to the agreement.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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