Pair to stay in prison for attacks

LIHU’E — Two Kapa’a men who were sentenced to prison last year for attacks on two people will be staying in prison.

James Rapozo and Ashley Souza were sent to prison in October for attacking a person at Lydgate Park, and for attacking William LeGro, a former reporter and editor with The Garden Island, at another Wailua location.

Rapozo sought probation to seek substance-abuse treatment, while Souza wanted his sentence to be reduced.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe denied their requests Thursday.

Before making her ruling, Watanabe said she looked at all the letters of support that were submitted to her on Rapozo’s and Souza’s behalf.

She pointed out that Rapozo showed remorse at a hearing last week, with friends and family in attendance. Additionally, Watanabe said, there was a considerable change in him since she sentenced him five months ago.

However, Watanabe said, Rapozo pleaded guilty with the full knowledge of the consequences of the plea. She also said she looked at a letter from LeGro asking they not be offered leniency, and at the circumstances of the crimes.

Watanabe said she was also struck by the changes that Souza went through since he was sentenced. Watanabe also pointed out that Souza had pleaded guilty, and that she was confident that he knew what the maximum penalty was for pleading guilty.

In court records, County Prosecuting Attorney Craig De Costa wrote that the court imposed a 10-year sentence for Rapozo’s violent conduct, and for the injuries that LeGro suffered.

De Costa wrote that the court properly sentenced Souza to five years in prison. Additionally, he wrote, Souza had committed another criminal offense while the case was pending.

Rapozo and Souza were sent to prison by Watanabe for assaults that took place in the early-morning hours of Aug. 11, 2003. She also ordered both men to pay $9,800 in restitution to LeGro.

According to court records, the attacks started at about 3:20 a.m. at the north end of Lydgate, where three people were assaulted.

About 20 minutes later, the pair was at Rice Shopping Center in Lihu’e where they assaulted another person, according to court records.

Rapozo and Souza ended up in a secluded area off Kuamo’o Road in Wailua Homesteads about 20 minutes later, where LeGro was asleep in his sport-utility vehicle.

At Rapozo and Souza’s sentencing hearing, LeGro said that he was trapped by the men in the back of his SUV, and that the men broke his nose and some of his ribs.


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