Kauai men sentenced in beating
The defense blames one man's temper on growing up with a girl's first name
LIHUE » William Legro says his life has not been the same since he was dragged from his sport utility vehicle by two brothers-in-law and beaten and robbed in August 2003.
Ashley Souza: He receives a five-year sentence for his role
James Rapozo: He faces 10 years in prison for a rampage
"You two threw your consciences in the garbage. I can never forgive you for taking my love for Kauai," Legro told the men who were sentenced yesterday in Kauai Circuit Court for the beating, which was part of a crime rampage.
Ashley Souza, 26, received a five-year jail term, while his wife's brother, James Rapozo, 25, got a 10-year sentence in an emotional court proceeding.
Sticking with the recommendations of prosecutors, Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe sentenced the two to maximum sentences, with all the terms running at the same time.
Kapaa residents Souza, a father of four, and Rapozo, a father of a toddler, said they were drunk and high when they threatened, beat and robbed Kauai residents in three separate incidents.
As part of a plea deal for the rampage, Rapozo pleaded guilty in July to two counts of third-degree assault, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree robbery. Souza pleaded guilty to unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and first-degree unlawful imprisonment.
Both men asked for leniency on behalf of their children.
Souza's lawyer said his client, who took a secondary role in the offenses, has a temper. "Growing up, he had a girl's name so he developed a temper," Warren Perry said.
Perry, who said he has known both Legro and Souza for years, added that his client is trying to get his life together and take care of his family.
Both the defendants apologized for their parts in the beating, and Rapozo said he and his relative are not monsters.
"You can't just say we're bad people," he said. "You don't know how we grew up. Sometimes we need the help."
Watanabe also ordered Souza and Rapozo to pay more than $10,000 in restitution, the $157 they stole from Legro and the rest to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund, which paid for Legro's surgeries.
Legro was the last victim of the crime spree, which started with another reported assault two hours earlier on three men at Lydgate State Park in Wailua. Souza and Rapozo also threatened security guards in Lihue who informed them the bar they wished to enter was closed, prosecutors said.
Fighting through tears in court yesterday, Legro said he was sleeping peacefully when the two men came up to his vehicle and demanded money and drugs. Then they beat him and, when he escaped, dragged him and beat him again.
"You laughed while you hit me," cursing and calling him a haole, Legro, 58, told his attackers and the court. "I've had two years of pain and seizures and nightmares."
Legro said his nose, ribs, cheekbone and teeth were broken during the beating, causing him to undergo two surgeries that cost $10,000. Lingering effects from the concussion continue to cause seizures, and he still has numbness in his face, Legro added.