LIHUE — Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped attempted murder from the list of charges brought against a Kapaa man who demolished the house of his former boss with a machete and told police he did so under the influence of a powerful hallucinogenic drug because, “He owes me choke ahi.”
The fish dispute and subsequent conflict was not a timely one for Forrest Broyles. Less than a year before the altercation with his former boss, Broyles pleaded no contest to a number of charges related to an incident in which he allegedly threatened two people with a pair of scissors.
Even though prosecutors elected to drop the most serious charge against Broyles — second-degree attempted murder, a class A felony — and replace it with misdemeanor assault, he remains on the hook for three more felony counts, all of which carry mandatory minimum sentences.
Broyles, 25, pleaded no contest Tuesday to one class B felony — first degree burglary — and two class C felonies — second-degree criminal property damage and first-degree terroristic threatening.
Because he was on probation when he committed his most recent offense, the maximum jail terms for Broyles three remaining felonies are doubled, meaning a judge could technically sentence him to 40 years in prison and fine him nearly $50,000.
That outcome, however, is unlikely. During Tuesday’s hearing, Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe signed off on the terms of Broyles’ plea bargain, essentially agreeing to follow the recommendations of prosecutors, who requested a seven-year jail sentence.
A KPD detective’s report of the event on Dec. 3 says Broyles told a police he was on ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew from the Amazon, and that he broke into his former boss’ house in an attempt to get his fair share of fish the two men had caught together.
“That is what the whole incident was about,” Broyles told the detective. “Last time we got two ahis. We got three onos and one mahi mahi. I don’t remember when the last time we went fishing. I am on ayahuasca. You can’t charge me with any felonies because I am a native American warrior.”
Broyles’ ex-employer told police he and Broyles often used to fish together after work but said Broyles had found a better job a while back and hadn’t seen him in a couple of months.
The man told police he was home watching a football game with his wife when he heard a horn honking, followed by “a loud bang.”
The detective’s report says Broyles’ former boss “heard yelling and screaming then heard the glass to his front door shatter.” When he looked over the banister, the man saw Broyles enter his house and start walking up the stairs to the living area carrying a machete.
Police say Broyles threatened the man and his wife, “saying that he owed him fish and that he was going to kill him and chop him up.” Broyles told the detective afterward that he never intended to hurt the man or his wife and only slapped his ex-employer with the broad side of the machete as a warning.
At some point, Broyles decided to take out his frustration on the house instead of its occupants. The victims told police Broyles started hitting their television with his machete and then “broke out all the windows, the sliding door, broke the living room stand, chairs, the table, kitchen cabinets, the stove and microwave, canoe paddle among other things.”
A stipulation of Broyles’ plea bargain requires him to pay restitution to the victims in an amount to be determined later. A KPD detective estimated Broyles caused roughly $3,000 worth of damages to the home.
During Tuesday’s court hearing, Broyles appeared calm and polite.
“I did really good on probation, and then I relapsed,” Broyles told Watanabe when asked for a statement. “Resentment got the better of me.”
His court-appointed public defense attorney, Melinda Mendes, said her client accepted the prosecutors offer because “he wanted to go forward and take responsibility for what he did.”
Mendes added that if the case had gone to trial, she would have defended her client on the grounds of mental incompetence, a defense she described as, “very valid in this case.”
Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar confirmed Mendes analysis in an email Tuesday, saying Broyles’ “mental state and intent would have been issues.”
Broyles is scheduled to appear in court again for sentencing in August. He will spend the intervening time in jail. Watanabe gave Broyles five years in jail for that offense, which will count toward the seven-year sentence she will likely hand down at the hearing in August.