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Lanai man sentenced to jail for assault on ex-girlfriend

WAILUKU — A Lanai man was sentenced to an 18-month jail term for assaulting his then-girlfriend by twice putting his hands around her neck and squeezing until she had trouble breathing.

Alika Kaniho-Batoon, 24, also was placed on four years’ probation when he was sentenced Thursday.

“What the defendant did to the victim was unjustified,” said Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro. “There was no good reason for strangling the victim, putting his hands around her neck and squeezing.”

Originally facing charges of attempted murder and kidnapping, Kaniho-Batoon had pleaded guilty to reduced charges of attempted first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

The crimes occurred in the late evening of Feb. 17, 2021, when Kaniho-Batoon and the woman got into an argument that turned physical and violent at her residence in Lanai City, Miyashiro said. She said he had his hands around the woman’s neck while yelling that he was going to kill her. When she tried to get away, he grabbed her and again strangled her, Miyashiro said.

She said the woman eventually was able to get away and went to a friend’s house to call police.

Officers reported visible injuries to the woman, including a bite mark on her hand.

The prosecution reached a plea agreement recommending probation for Kaniho-Batoon, taking into consideration his limited prior record of one contempt-of-court conviction, Miyashiro said.

Defense attorney Jon Apo said both sides compromised. He said much of what Kaniho-Batoon did was “modeling what he grew up seeing” in his family.

“I’m hoping that this is the biggest learning experience of his life,” Apo said.

He said Kaniho-Batoon was “very resourceful, very respectful.”

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill followed the plea agreement in sentencing Kaniho-Batoon, who on Thursday had to spend several more days in jail to complete the jail term.

“If one can mature while they’re in custody, Mr. Kaniho-Batoon has done it,” Cahill said.

Kaniho-Batoon was ordered to pay $200 in restitution and have no contact with the victim. He also was ordered to complete domestic violence intervention classes.

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

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