Neighbors feel safer after man's guilty plea
Ahuimanu residents say David Domingues held them hostage with verbal abuse
Nine-year-old Taylor Ishida can now ride her bike around her Windward Oahu cul-de-sac with the rest of the neighborhood kids.
For more than a decade, even before Taylor was born, her family and neighbors on Henoheno Place in Ahuimanu had been terrorized by a neighbor.
David Domingues, 38, who was arrested in November and has been behind bars unable to post $2 million bail, pleaded guilty yesterday before Circuit Judge Steve Alm to two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.
He was accused of repeatedly threatening neighbor Lamont Kapec with bodily injury in August and threatening to kill Taylor's father, Neal Ishida, and her family in September. Ishida had witnessed Domingues violating a restraining order that Kapec obtained against Domingues.
Ishida's voice shook as he described how Domingues, who lived 15 feet away in the house next door, subjected them and surrounding neighbors to a daily ritual of unprovoked outbursts of profanities and obscenities, and threatened to kill them and their families and burn down their homes.
"We were all prisoners in our home while he blatantly disregarded the law," Ishida said.
The verbal abuse started early in the morning and continued late into the night, neighbors said.
Domingues would aim his car at residents, then swerve away, they said. He used his fingers to mimic a gun and pointed it at neighbors, said Ishida, who noted that other neighbors had seen him with a gun.
When police responded, Domingues would calm down, but once they left he would resume his harassment, he said.
Yesterday, Domingues mumbled an apology to his former neighbors who filled the courtroom. "I never mean for things to happen like this," he said.
His words do not mean much to Kapec, who said he does not believe that Domingues is genuinely sorry.
Despite many opportunities, Domingues and his mother, with whom he lived, have offered no explanation or shown any remorse for his conduct, Kapec said.
Domingues began harassing Kapec and his wife within days after they moved into the neighborhood in July, screaming racially charged insults and other obscenities. They had never spoken to him before.
Kapec did what many of his neighbors have done repeatedly in the past -- called police -- then filed the first of several temporary restraining orders against Domingues.
"There's no greater impact on a person's soul than when threatened in the sanctity of your own home," said Kapec, an Army major at Tripler.
After Kapec obtained a restraining order, Domingues stepped up his harassment. So Kapec got his neighbors together and convinced other residents to file restraining orders against Domingues. And with the help of prosecutors and an attorney, they learned what they could legally do to take back their community. Domingues was arrested Nov. 14.
Alm said there was no question Domingues caused a "reign of terror" on his neighbors far beyond the August and September incidents, and commended the residents for not taking the law into their own hands.
Despite concerns by the prosecutor and residents, Alm granted Domingues' request to be placed on supervised release to the Sand Island Drug Treatment Center, saying it was the best for Domingues in the long term. Domingues will be released into the community at some point.
If Domingues fails to complete the drug treatment, Alm warned that he will return to prison. He also barred Domingues from going to the Windward side, from the Hygenic Store to Makapuu.
Domingues faces five years in prison for each count when sentenced May 15.
Deputy prosecutor Clinton Piper said he will ask that Domingues be sentenced to the maximum terms and that they be served consecutively.
Since Domingues has been in custody, "we're healing," Ishida said, but it will take a long time.
Residents are talking to each other, neighbors are out walking and kids are playing in the streets. Taylor Ishida says she no longer worries about Domingues yelling at her as he had in the past, scaring her. "I feel safe," she said, smiling shyly.