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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maui man sentenced to prison for pickup truck assault

By Lila Fujimoto
Maui News

WAILUKU With his victim asking for the maximum sentence, a five-year prison term was ordered Friday for a man who reached into a pickup truck to assault the man in the Kahikinui homestead.

Justin Namauu, 33, "took himself off probation" and was living in the remote area when the assault occurred Aug. 19, 2008, said Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds.

"This defendant literally took matters into his own hands," Simonds said.

After being stopped as he was driving home, Harry Newman was sitting in his truck and talking to Namauu's father, who was asking for the combination to locks on gates to hunting areas surrounding the homestead.

Justin Namauu opened the truck door, reached in and tried to pull Newman out while saying, "I'm going to drag your face against these rocks."

Newman managed to break free of Namauu and was driving uphill toward his house when he reported seeing Justin Namauu's vehicle following and hearing two volleys of gunshots.

Justin Namauu also blocked Newman's wife when she tried to open the gate to the homestead for police.

Newman, who said he feared he would be killed, asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence on Namauu.

In court Friday, Namauu's parents, Gertrude and George Namauu Sr., blamed Newman, who provided security in the homestead area, for what happened.

"All he had to do was give us the combination," George Namauu said.

Defense attorney William Sloper said Justin Namauu knew he was at fault.

Sloper asked for probation instead of prison for Namauu, whose brother "was brutally murdered just weeks before this incident happened."

"He assaulted Mr. Newman, and he was wrong," Sloper said.

At the time, Namauu was "upset about his brother's death and upset that Mr. Newman was arguing with his dad," Sloper said.

In a February trial, a jury found Namauu guilty of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, third-degree assault and second-degree terroristic threatening.

The jury acquitted Namauu of six other charges, including three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and drug charges, for three rifles, ammunition and more than 2 pounds of marijuana seized from his residence when Namauu was arrested three months after the assault.

In court Friday, Namauu apologized to Newman and asked 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen to "give me one more chance."

But Bissen said Namauu had been given chances and had done poorly while on probation in the past.

"I respectfully disagree with your parents as to why we're here today," the judge told Namauu. "Mr. Newman is not at fault."

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