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No excuses

LIHUE — A Kapaa man was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday in 5th Circuit Court for cases involving weapons and endangering the lives of his own children.

Matthew Jeremy Warner, 41, appeared in custody in multiple cases on charges of harassment, first-degree terroristic threat, firearms, second-degree assault, first-degree negligent injury, second-degree assault, second-degree negligent injury, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, second-degree reckless endangerment and child passenger restraint.

“I make no excuses for my actions,” Warner said. “I am just here to take accountability for the wrongs I have done and for my selfish actions that have caused so much harm to those closest to me and to the community.”

Warner pleaded no contest to petty misdemeanor harassment and felony terroristic threatening on May 15. His prior record, which included burglary, robbery, driving without a license and eluding police, in part led to the mandatory minimum sentence of one year and eight months before becoming parole eligible.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano said he hoped Warner did have his epiphany, but that the criminal record tells a different story. His Hawaii record is growing and now includes these felony convictions.

Valenciano said it was fortunate that the people who came by at the time were emergency medical technicians and were able to save the life of the boy.

“You must have angels watching over you, or at least watching over your children,” Valenciano said.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said Warner is street smart after a life of crime. She asked the court for consecutive sentencing, which would have Warner serving 10 years instead of five with concurrent prison terms.

The first incident occurred on Feb. 15, 2012, when Warner walked into a Koloa bar and saw someone who he had posted something negative about in social media several months earlier. Warner didn’t care for what the man posted in reply and confronted him in the bar.

After bouncers attempted to remove Warner from the bar, he lifted his shirt and displayed what Warner said was a black baton, and what the bouncers said was a handgun. When police caught up with Warner he was wearing different clothing and had no weapon, she said.

After posting bail and awaiting resolution of that matter, Mendes said that on March 25, 2013, Warner had a box of marijuana and was driving under the influence and in a negligent manner, causing injury by not securing his four-year-old daughter and six-year-old disabled son in child restraints.

State Deputy Public Defender Samuel Jajich said the injury to his children has made Warner take stock in his life. He came to Kauai to become a new person and away from the criminal record he had in Washington state. He did well until events seem to spiral out of control in his life and he reoffended, Jajich said.

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