Man jailed for damaging wife’s car

LIHUE — A Kilauea man who pulled the fuel relays out of his wife’s car was sentenced to one year in jail on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Mark Chandler, 51, was arrested Feb. 7 on charges of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, second-degree criminal tampering and fourth-degree theft on Sept. 20, 2012.

Court-appointed defense attorney George White said Chandler is a changed man and has received good reports from Kauai Community Correctional Center, where he has been held since November. He has a criminal record but this was a non-violent offense with circumstances to be considered, he said.

Chandler, according to White, confronted his estranged wife in Walmart and wanted to prevent her from driving while intoxicated. When she resisted, he allegedly broke into her car, popped the hood and pulled out the fuel relays to prevent the vehicle from starting.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gary Nelson said police did not report that Chandler’s wife was intoxicated. According to the victim, Chandler confronted her in the store with intentions to reconcile their relationship and damaged her vehicle when she refused, Nelson said.

The victim was also arrested on May 7 on a disorderly conduct charge. The two spoke in jail and she expressed a willingness to try again, Chandler said in court.

Nelson countered that the victim expressed no such desire as recent as one week ago. He said any contact with the victim would be violating an order for protection.

Despite two previous felony convictions and two failed probation attempts, the state agreed to resolve two other abuse and restraining order violation cases into a single plea deal. The state requested probation with six months imprisonment.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe spoke at length about the possibility of setting aside the plea deal and sentencing Chandler to a five-year prison term. After an impassioned plea from the defendant, who promised never to appear in court again, the judge said she would grant him probation with the understanding that a revocation would result in the maximum prison term.

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