Mall vandal gets five years

LIHUE — The Lihue woman convicted of smashing an ATM and shop windows at Kukui Grove Center on Dec. 19, 2012, received a five-year prison term Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Patricia Lewis, 32, pleaded no contest to second-degree criminal property damage on Aug. 20. She used an aluminum baseball bat to smash an ATM machine, along with a glass door and window of other mall retail outlets.

“I apologize to the victims for my offense,” Lewis said in her statement to the court.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe said she appreciated the remorse expressed by the defendant, but noted the court “could not ignore the prior convictions for determining propensity to reoffend again.”

There simply were not many options available to the court in this matter, Watanabe added.

Lewis was also ordered to pay $3,960 in restitution to American Savings Bank — the owner of the ATM machine, and $576.38 to Long Drug Store for damage to their property.

County Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Vogt said the state asked for a full prison term, in part for numerous prior convictions and unresolved cases around the country. She said this included a four-year prison term for a child abuse conviction in Virginia. The court suspended two years and 10 months of the sentence.

In this matter, the crime occurred at the height of the holiday shopping season and the defendant’s actions had shoppers running for places to hide, Vogt said. She was confronted near Starbucks coffee shop by an off-duty police officer who arrested her without injury to herself or others.

Lewis believed at the time that her children had been murdered, said State Deputy Public Defender Samuel Jajich in court. She is remorseful and has come a long way in the past year, he said.

The defendant was sent to Oahu for a stay at the Hawaii State Hospital in March for refusing to attend court hearings. She underwent three examinations to determine her mental fitness for trial.

Jajich said that Lewis did not meet with her much while in the hospital.

However, once she was declared fit, he said Lewis was positive and cooperative and asked the court to consider the time at two mental health facilities as credit for time served.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or by emailing tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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