Saturday, May 14, 2005

Man convicted of
lesser charge

Anthony Na‘o faces 10 years in
prison for stabbing his girlfriend

A man accused of second-degree attempted murder for stabbing his girlfriend 22 times with a Phillips screwdriver was found guilty yesterday of the lesser charge of first-degree assault.

Anthony Na'o, 28, was facing a life term of imprisonment with parole had he been convicted of the harsher offense. First-degree assault is punishable by a 10-year prison term.

Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader said he was disappointed in the verdict because there was abundant evidence that Na'o intended to kill Rachelle Nagasawa on Feb. 13, 2004, apparently because of the grief she was putting him through.

Deputy Public Defender Walter Rodby argued at trial that Na'o wanted to hurt his girlfriend, whom he believed had been leading him on, but did not intend to kill her.

The couple had a rocky relationship and had gone through a bad breakup, but Na'o agreed to meet her that day on King Street near Kuhio Elementary to give her some money after cashing his paycheck. The couple argued, and Na'o picked up the screwdriver, which apparently had been lying on the ground nearby, and attacked her.

Nagasawa was stabbed in the head, face, neck and throat area and suffered defensive wounds on her hands. The screwdriver punctured her esophagus and narrowly missed her jugular, prosecutors said.

She tried to fight back and fled when a bystander distracted Na'o, but he followed her to a nearby nail salon and resumed his attack. Had the women in the salon not intervened, Nagasawa would not be alive today, Trader said.

Na'o will be sentenced July 25 before Circuit Judge Richard Pollack.

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