Man who struck girlfriend with hammer found guilty
An Oahu Circuit Court jury found the 32-year-old man who used a hammer to attack his girlfriend guilty of second-degree attempted murder and unanimously found Tuesday that he should be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
An Oahu Circuit Court jury found the 32-year-old man who used a hammer
to attack his girlfriend guilty of second-degree attempted murder and unanimously found Tuesday that he should be sentenced to
life without the possibility
A jury of six men and six women decided in less than an hour of deliberation that Kristopher Kazu Kalani should be imprisoned for the rest of his life for the
attack that left his girlfriend, Grace Pineda, permanently disfigured.
The Hawaii Paroling
Authority’s statistics show that those convicted of
attempted second-degree murder have served over the past six years (2014-2019) minimum sentences ranging from six to 50 years.
Kalani’s former girlfriend, now 32, appeared in court Friday using a walker
and had a disfiguring and lasting scar to her face. She said she had only four remaining teeth, assistant prosecuting attorney Scott Bell said.
“She’s suffered devastating injuries,” he said after the trial.
Kalani appeared in a black-and-blue plaid shirt, dark trousers and white sneakers, unshackled, and remained almost expressionless as the jury forewoman read the jury’s unanimous decision.
As the decision was
read, Kalani nodded slightly, glancing occasionally at the jury.
He spent much of his adult life in prison, from the time he was 18 in 2006 to the time he was released in 2017, but was arrested in November 2017 for traffic offenses.
Judge Rowena Somerville will sentence Kalani at 9 a.m. March 25.
Although she has the
discretion to go against
the jury’s decision, she is
expected to follow its decision, Bell said.
Police arrested Kalani on March 1, 2018, for allegedly beating his girlfriend with
a hammer, causing severe
injuries to her face and head.
His first arrest occurred March 2006, when he assaulted a law enforcement officer. Four months later he was charged in the beating death of 17-year-old Alexander Sabala. He admitted to hitting Sabala in the head during an altercation at the BK Superette inNanakuli, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the pavement. Sabala died two months later.
Bell sought an extended sentence that would eliminate the possibility of Kalani being paroled.
He cited three convictions: two first-degree assaults, Class B felonies, one involving a police officer and another person, who died, and the third by the jury’s verdict Monday.
“His past is the best predictor of future behavior,” Bell told the jury. “The only way to ensure the safety of this community is a yes answer.”
Kalani’s attorney, Dana Ishibashi, urged the jury, “Don’t give up on Kazu.”
He said a previous assault case occurred during a brawl where he used his fist to punch a male he knew.
“If it was manslaughter, the government would have taken this to trial,” he said.
Ishibashi said his client admitted to the assault,
saying he is a “fundamentally honest person,” and took the 10 years.
Bell then told the jury,
“Do not feel pity or compassion for Mr. Kalani.”
The jury found he was a repeat and persistent offender and was convicted of two or more felonies committed at different times as an adult.
The jurors also found “the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it is necessary for the protection of the public to extend the defendant’s sentence from a possible life term of imprisonment to a definite life term of imprisonment.”
Kalani will continue to be held without bail while he awaits sentencing.