WAILUKU - A Kahului man was sentenced this month to 18 months in jail and five years' probation for assaulting his nephew.
Allen Fredrick, 35, was arrested after repeatedly stabbing his nephew in the throat with a paring knife on Jan. 4, 2012, in the defendant's home. He was charged with first-degree assault.
"This is a very, very sad situation for everyone involved," Deputy Public Defender Danielle Sears told 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza. "There does not seem to be any dispute about what happened."
According to police and witnesses, the Micronesian family had been drinking heavily when Fredrick's then 30-year-old nephew disrespected his uncle.
"The nephew had said something so awful that it could not be translated precisely from Chuukese to English," Sears said.
The words translated to "smell sh--," said Deputy Prosecutor Kim Whitworth, who added that what was said "is really not the issue."
Fredrick, who told police he had consumed a 12-pack of beer, hard alcohol and chewed betel nut, a stimulant similar to tobacco, attacked his nephew with the knife he was using for the nuts.
Sears said Fredrick did not intend to stab his nephew, contending that neither he nor his nephew was even aware that he was holding a knife.
However, witnesses told police that Fredrick threatened, attacked and stabbed his nephew, Whitworth said. She told the judge that Fredrick stabbed his nephew five times, dropped the knife and went to bed, while the family sought medical attention for the "heavily bleeding" nephew.
The victim was left with about an inch-deep laceration to his neck and was admitted to Maui Memorial Medical Center. According to doctors, the nephew could have died without immediate surgery, Whitworth said.
"Clearly this was a horrible event for the whole family," said Sears, who reported that the defendant has remained sober since the incident and attends church every day. "He has sought treatment for his alcohol problem. . . . He wants to be the person God wants him to be."
Whitworth said Fredrick has been in the state for 14 years and had a drunken-driving conviction in 2007.
"At this point, this is a very lenient offer," she said about the 18-month jail term and plea agreement for five years' probation.
Sears asked for six months in jail so Fredrick could support his wife, who has a history of heart attacks, and his son.
Fredrick, speaking through an interpreter, apologized to the court and said he does not believe the incident defines him.
"The reason I came to Maui . . . was not to make trouble," he said.
Cardoza ordered Fredrick to find full-time work or receive an education, during and after his jail term. He also was told to avoid alcohol.
"I think this is something you don't normally do," Cardoza said. "But I want to make sure it doesn't happen again."
In an unrelated case last week, a Central Maui man charged with second-degree assault was sentenced to 180 days in jail and five years' probation.
Chazz Moleta, 25, was arrested after punching a 67-year-old man at midnight on Aug. 27, 2011, outside the Kahului Ale House.
The man, who saw Moleta fighting with his girlfriend, approached the couple in an attempt to stop the fight. He was struck once in the face, causing him to fall to the ground bleeding from his nose and eyes.
The older man suffered fractures to his nose and other health complications due to the incident, Whitworth said.
"He is probably the most sorry client I've ever had," Sears said of Moleta, while also noting that he has completed anger management classes since the incident.
Moleta, who was convicted of two misdemeanors for assault in 2010, had been partying with friends prior to the incident and lost track of how much alcohol he had consumed.
He then went to the restaurant, where he continued to party and "at some point blacked out," Sears said.
While acknowledging the severity of the crime, she asked for no jail time, five years' probation and any other recommended treatment for Moleta.
Although Whitworth did not question Moleta's sincerity, she said she was disappointed with the plea agreement.
"He shows a continuous pattern of problems," she said. "This is his third time before the court."
Before Cardoza's ruling, Moleta apologized for wasting the court's time and said after the incident that he could not sleep or eat.
"I honestly was disgusted with myself," he said, when he found out what he had done. "I want to learn from my mistakes. I truly, truly am sorry from the bottom of my heart."
Cardoza said he believed in Moleta's sincerity but suspects he gave the same apology the last time he was in court. He told him that he must recognize the factors that continually put him in this situation, namely alcohol.
"Alcohol is like a poison to you and your life," he said.
Cardoza sentenced Moleta to 180 days in jail to be served Friday through Sunday so he may keep his full-time job and care for his newly born child.
"It'll be a reminder every week," Cardoza said.
* Chris Sugidono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.