LIHUE — A Kapaa man who allegedly took matters into his own hands to dispense justice was sentenced to probation and 18 months jail for beating a man in a beach park restroom and taking $60 from him.
Robert John Lolena Wills, 35, was convicted of a second-degree robbery on March 27. He pleaded no contest to intentionally causing substantial bodily injury to a 58-year-old Hanalei man.
“Substantial jail time for this defendant is appropriate to protect the community from his repeated bad behaviors,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.
Court-appointed defense attorney Warren Perry asked the court to consider that despite Wills’ prior convictions for family abuse and assault, his crimes indicate more nuisance than a pattern of violence. Wills is a “good, bad guy” who tends to take matters into his own hands when he see’s something is not right, Perry said.
In this matter, he beat a drug dealer and took his money, Perry added.
It was Wills’ way to encounter people who did rotten things by punching them in the nose, Perry said. There was a fight while he was in jail, but Wills has since turned himself around with good words from the warden, Perry added.
In his statement to the court, Wills said he understands that taking matters into his own hands is not right. He said many people might not want to see him get probation but that his eyes are open.
“If I live a life that is pledged to God, then probation will not be a problem,” Wills said. “I am really sorry for what I did.”
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said the defendant justified his assaults because the victims were “bad guys” but then robs them to benefit himself. She said the defendant is old enough to know better.
Judge Kathleen Watanabe said the description of Wills as a “good, bad guy” was disturbing in its attempt to make light of his actions.
“It only means that he is good and being bad,” she added, noting Wills’ 15 prior misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor convictions.
The community does not need bullies to become self-proclaimed correctional officers, she added.
Watanabe sentenced Wills to a five-year term of HOPE (Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement) for close supervision of high-risk offenders. He will serve 18 months in jail, the maximum allowable with felony probation.
“There is no wiggle room for error,” said Watanabe, adding that a revocation of HOPE probation could result in a 10-year prison term.
Willis is also facing a first-degree bail jumping charge before Chief Judge Randal Valenciano. The matter is scheduled for jury trial on Feb. 2.