No life term in road-rage fight
A man accused of second-degree attempted murder for beating another man following a road-rage incident on Kapiolani Boulevard a year ago was convicted yesterday of a lesser charge of second-degree assault.
Maurice Nakama, 26, faces a maximum of five years in prison when sentenced Dec. 18.
Had he been convicted of the attempted murder, Nakama, who has no prior criminal record, would have been facing life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
Defense attorney Ed Harada said his client was relieved that he had not been convicted of a more serious offense. "When he testified, he was remorseful for what happened and never intended any injury of the sort that occurred in the case."
Murray Wallace fell and struck his head on the sidewalk during the Oct. 22 fight that began at a crosswalk at Atkinson Drive and Kapiolani.
Wallace testified at trial that he could not remember what happened. He still suffers from short-term memory loss as a result of the head injury and continues to undergo therapy, prosecutors said.
The defense contended Wallace sustained the brain injury as a result of hitting his head, not from Nakama punching him, and that it was a mutual fight.
Prosecutors argued otherwise, saying the incident would not have happened had Nakama not gotten out of the car in the first place and gone after Murray.
"This was a one-sided beating as far as the state's concerned," Deputy Prosecutor Marvin Rampey said.
Nakama apparently believed that Murray, who was walking with his wife, Alice, kicked Daniel Miyamoto's car as they walked past, splashing water on their car in the process. He persuaded Miyamoto to stop the car so he could confront the couple.
"We share some blame for getting out of the car, but the undisputed evidence at trial was that it was purely a verbal confrontation for at least three minutes" before it turned physical, Harada said. "It escalated on both sides -- neither backed down. Unfortunately, because everybody was intoxicated, it escalated into a fight."
Rampey said he will be seeking the maximum term of five years.
Harada said he will be asking for probation.
Miyamoto pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for striking Alice Murray in the back of the head when she tried to stop him from leaving the scene. She suffered a mild concussion.
Under a plea agreement, Miyamoto is expected to be sentenced next week to one year's probation and 30 days in jail.