No contest in sex assault

LIHUE — An Anahola man charged with 13 counts of felony sexual assault against a minor  faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Matthew Lolena Samson, 31, pleaded no contest to second- and third-degree sexual assault of a minor, which are two of 13 counts from an April 2013 indictment that charged Samson with continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14. The charges were for ongoing sexual contact with a child between Oct. 17, 2006 through Dec. 9, 2009. 

The female youth was between the ages of six and nine during the time that the offenses occurred. Samson reportedly lived with the victim at the time.

“I just want to accept responsibility and get this over with already,” Samson said in his statement on why he is accepting the plea deal and waiving his right to a jury trial.

The plea bargain reduces on count to a B felony offense that carries a possible 10-year prison term, and a C felony count of third-degree sexual assault that carries a possible five-year term.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe informed the defendant that the court would not impose extended sentencing for multiple felonies because the state did not request it as part of the plea deal. She said the maximum amount of prison time that was possible at sentencing is 15 years.

Samson was sentenced to five years in prison for unauthorized control of a vehicle in 2002. Prior criminal history is considered in the pre-sentence diagnostic report.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said the state did not specify the minimum term of incarceration in the plea agreement. Both sides will be free to make arguments at the sentencing hearing scheduled Sept. 17.

State Deputy Public Defender Samuel Jajich represented Samson at the hearing. The plea deal removes the Sept. 8 trial date from the court calendar.

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