Man gets one year for assault

LIHUE — A man who beat and choked his girlfriend during sexual intercourse was sentenced to one year in jail by a Kauai judge Thursday.

Prosecutors say Paul Bin Chong Say’s girlfriend arrived at Say’s home and noticed he was “frustrated and angry that night.”

While the two were having sex, Say became violent and began choking his girlfriend, said deputy prosecutor Jenna Tatsey. When she attempted to push him off, he then proceeded to punch her on both sides of her face, Tatsey told the court at sentencing.

When she was finally able to get away, bruises and welts covered both sides of face, her ears and her neck, Tatsey said. She also had a possible concussion, she said.

Say, 52, was charged with two misdemeanors, third-degree assault and abuse of family or household members.

According to state law, in the event that an offender has intentionally or knowingly impeded the “normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the victim by applying pressure on the throat or the neck,” the case shall be charged as a class C felony abuse of family or household members.

Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said “the victim in the case was unable to articulate that her breathing was impaired or restricted,” hence it was not charged by police or by his office as a choking case.

Kollar said the victim did not want to participate in the prosecution of Say out of fear.

“The victim in the case was very fearful of testifying and there were no other witnesses,” Kollar said. “We’re well aware of Mr. Say’s history and reputation in the community but we can only work with the cases that we are given.”

At sentencing Thursday, Say told the court “sorry we have to deal with this.”

“I’d like to move forward with my life,” Say said. “I’m ready to be in compliance. I took the six-month thing. I’d like to get back to my life and make pono with everyone. I don’t want relationships. I don’t want nothing.”

The state recommended that Say, who has at least one other domestic violence conviction, be placed behind bars for six months. The man had already served 204 days, or seven months, in jail, said deputy public defender Dena Renti Cruz.

Renti Cruz asked the court to honor the plea with the state.

Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano had other plans. He gave Say a chance to assert an alternate defense, but Say declined stating he wanted to go forward with sentencing Thursday.

Valenciano noted Say’s “extensive record” and said although they weren’t all felonies, Say did have a lot of misdemeanor convictions.

He sentenced Say to one year in jail with credit for time served and ordered him to pay a $55 crime victim’s fee and a $100 internet crimes against children fee. The court also ordered him to complete a domestic violence intervention program.

Say has a lengthy criminal history and has spent a considerable amount of time in jail, according to a criminal history report conducted by The Garden Island.

The report begins in 1986 when he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court and includes at least 19 charges.

Say has also been convicted of third-degree assault two times, second-degree reckless endangering, theft and another misdemeanor case of abuse of family or household members in 2007, the report showed.

In 1999, Say was sentenced to five years in prison for third-degree promoting a dangerous drug. Although attorneys attempted to have the sentence vacated, the lower courts judgment was affirmed by the appellate courts.

Kollar said the state considered the defendant’s criminal record when it recommended six months in jail for Say.

“This is a common scenario in domestic violence cases,” he said. “Abusers prey on victims who they know will be fearful of participating in their prosecution.”

Say is scheduled to appear before Valenciano in 2017 for a compliance hearing.

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