WAILUKU - A deputy prosecutor Wednesday commended an abuse victim for having the strength to stand up for herself and to put an end to an abusive marriage she had with the father of her two children.
"It was her strength and her choice" to end the abuse, said Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Coccaro of victim Sierra Thompson.
Coccaro said that at first, like many abuse victims, Thompson recanted her story, but in this case, she came back to prosecutors to talk about the abuse. That led to the charges against her now ex-husband.
On Wednesday, Thompson's ex-husband, 43-year-old Miles Maio of Wailuku, was sentenced to five years' probation, which will run concurrently in three abuse cases in accordance with a plea agreement.
Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen credited Maio for the one year he has already spent in jail.
Coccaro said the plea agreement was reached in full agreement with Thompson.
During the hearing, Thompson said it has been "a long road" for her and her two young sons.
She hoped that if Maio would change, the family could be put back together again.
"We have two little kids that need a mom and a dad," she said.
Maio apologized in court to his former wife. He said he is ready to move on and get back together with his children.
Deputy Public Defender Jim Rouse said that his client is sincere, and he doesn't think Maio will be a repeat offender.
"I think the lesson was learned loud and clear," Rouse said. "I think from this disaster, there is hope."
But Bissen warned Maio that if he commits another crime he will be sent to prison.
"Mr. Maio, I think you have used up all of your chances," Bissen said.
He told Maio that as a father he needs to be a role model for his sons. If Maio treats their mother poorly, then his children might believe it is OK to abuse women.
"It's not too late for any of them. There are lessons you can teach your sons," Bissen said. "As fathers, we have a huge responsibility."
Maio pleaded no contest in three cases to four counts of abuse of a family or household member, one count of first-degree terroristic threatening and one count of felony abuse for choking in incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2011, court records show.
In one of the cases, Maio had threatened Thompson with a rock.
In another case on Dec. 18, 2011, Thompson said she arrived at her husband's residence to retrieve personal belongings after the two were recently separated.
She said Maio became upset for no reason and began yelling, telling her to give him an EBT card that was in her possession.
He then pulled her by her hair and attempted to reach in her back pocket to retrieve the card. She began pushing him away when he struck her twice with his fist to the back of her head, records show.
In an unrelated court matter, Alexander Vrooman, 26, of Pukalani, on Tuesday was placed on probation for one year and ordered to pay nearly $238 in restitution for assaulting a man and damaging his vehicle last year.
Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza also ordered Vrooman to stay away from the victim and his family and to obtain anger management services.
"You got to think before you react to any situation," Cardoza said.
Vrooman pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal property damage for an incident on Nov. 21, 2011, records show.
Vrooman opened a man's car door in the parking lot of Queen Ka'ahumanu Center and pulled the victim out of the vehicle, bit him and caused other injuries, records show.
Vrooman then used a baseball bat to hit the vehicle.
The incident arose out of a personal matter earlier in the evening, records show.
Cardoza granted Vrooman a chance to clear his record if he successfully completes probation.