One year for three violent acts

LIHUE — A Koloa man was sentenced to a year in prison and probation for three separate assault cases on Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Dionicio Pookela Chang Wo, 26, was sentenced to probation and one-year consecutive terms for a second-degree assault case, and for abuse of a family member in another. He was also given 30 days for kicking his ex-partner’s car door and causing more than $900 in damage.

“I offer no excuses for my actions and conduct,” Chang Wo said.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin asked for the full prison term, noting that the defendant pleaded no contest to three separate acts of violence in just over one year.

Two of the charges were against the mother of his young daughter, Arin said. They occurred earlier this year when the woman agreed to visitations and instead of focusing on his daughter, Chang Wo turned against the mother, kicking her car door in one instance, and punching her in another.

The third incident occurred at an area beach on Sept. 9, 2012, when Chang Wo allegedly witnessed an acquaintance approaching police officers investigating another matter. Arin said Chang Wo became upset with the man and physical assaulted him for offering assistance to the police in the matter.

This is not someone having a bad day, but someone who is showing a pattern of disturbing behavior, Arin added.

State Deputy Public Defender Dena Renti Cruz represented Chang Wo in two cases and court appointed defense attorney James Tagupa represented him in the third. They both said the crimes were fueled by alcohol and drug use, and that he has worked hard to comply with substance abuse treatment and has turned a corner in his life.

The attorneys asked for probation and continued treatment.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano said the court was concerned the  violence occurred in the presence of the daughter in the home and in a moving vehicle while the woman was driving. He considered ordering consecutive one-year terms for the nature of the violence.

“I am not going to follow the plea bargain,” Valenciano said.

The domestic violence was against a woman who expressed compassion toward the defendant in making his daughter available to him for visits, Valenciano said. The violence also goes into the community setting with the attack against a man at Poipu Beach.

In the end the judge ordered concurrent sentences along with domestic violence and substance abuse evaluations and treatment.

County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said Chang Wo has acquired a substantial record in his short life, and the pattern of violence with his own family and others in the community is disturbing.

“When children see their father abusing their mother, it causes lifelong trauma,” Kollar said.

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