LIHUE — A judge sentenced a Waimea man to nine months in jail Thursday but not before he called the man’s behavior unacceptable when he beat his girlfriend and threatened to kill her.
Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano called 30-year-old Kelsey Ekela Kaohi’s behavior unacceptable after he went into his girlfriend’s house while she was with their son and beat her. He also called him a high-risk individual.
Valenciano sentenced him to five years of probation and nine months in jail. Kaohi will have to pay a $105 crime victims compensation fee, a $150 probation services fee and $341.74 restitution to the crime victim compensation commission. All fees will be paid at $50 per month upon his release from jail.
Deputy prosecutor Jenna Tatsey told the court that when Kaohi received a text message from the mother of his children asking to set up a visitation schedule, he “started sending threatening text messages saying he wanted to kill her.”
Tatsey said she eventually stopped responding, but he didn’t stop sending the threatening messages.
Kaohi showed up at the woman’s house, went into her bedroom where she was on her bed with their 2-year-old son and began hitting her.
“He hit her on her face twice and punched her in the leg in two different places and then punched her in the face two more times,” Tatsey told the court Thursday during sentencing. “All while doing this, he kept yelling, ‘Try me.’”
Kaohi also covered her nose and mouth while she was trying to shout for help, Tatsey said.
“Then he pulled a knife out of his pocket and told her if she called the cops, he was going to kill her,” she said.
Tatsey recommended the court sentence Kaohi to nine months in jail and probation.
Kaohi was charged with felony abuse of family or household member and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening. He pleaded to the felony abuse of family or household members on May 5, which is a class C felony and has a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 48 hours.
Kaohi had spent one day in jail.
The victim spoke at the sentencing and said she was scared for her life and her children’s lives. She said she didn’t think that probation would help.
“I was out of work for about three weeks because of my black eye and what happened to my face,” she said. “Kelsey punched me in the face. I was under a lot of emotional stress because that day he threatened to kill me. I was scared to be in my own house. I had to go stay at hotels. I stayed with my parents for about six months.”
Defense attorney Mark Zenger requested that along with probation, Kaohi be incarcerated to an additional 30 to 60 days due to a work conflict he had scheduled in one month’s time.
Zenger said that intensive domestic violence counseling would be beneficial for Kaohi and that a lengthy jail time would not be helpful to his two young children.
“Obviously, there is some significant issues between him and the birth mother … He has got to learn to deal with that in a constructive way,” Zenger said. “What he did on the day of question was certainly unacceptable and should never be repeated again.”
Kaohi is to have no contact with the victim or he could face further violations and prosecution, according to the terms and conditions of his probation.