Jail ordered in pellet gun shooting

LIHUE — A Waimea man was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to write an apology letter to his victim whom he shot with a pellet gun.

Joseph A. Lopez III, 46, was also given five years of probation Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.

He said he was ashamed of his actions and that the past year in Life Time Stand program at Kauai Community Correctional Center has helped him control addiction problems and he has learned how to respond to similar situations in a more appropriate manner.

He said his goals now are to find employment and avoid the situations that led to the unfortunate encounter.

Court-appointed defense attorney Rosa Flores said the incident started because Lopez became upset with a female neighbor of his who owed him money for quite some time. His anger got the best of him and he took matters into his own hands and shot his neighbor with a pellet gun.

Lopez was charged with recklessly causing substantial bodily injury to the women on Nov. 16, 2012. A second felony charge that included the use of a pellet gun was dismissed in the no contest agreement on April 8.

Flores said he and the victim are now on better terms.

County First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Takata recommended felony HOPE probation. The court sentenced Lopez to standard probation after noting that the probation department did not score Lopez as a high-risk offender to qualify for HOPE (Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement) that required close supervision.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe said she agreed to the terms of the plea deal that outlined Lopez’s sentence. She added that Lopez had already served 331 days of his sentence and must write a letter of apology to the victim.

Lopez must complete an anger management course, undergo a chemical dependency assessment and any other program ordered by the probation department. He must also pay a $500 crime victim compensation fee and has a stay away order from the victim.

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