Teen pleads guilty in robbery


POSTED: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A teenager accused of shooting and permanently paralyzing a man in a home-invasion robbery last summer in Aliamanu is no longer facing life behind bars for attempted murder.

Nicholas Nichols, 19, pleaded guilty last week to a reduced charge of first-degree assault in a plea deal with the state. He also pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, using a firearm to commit the crimes and carrying a firearm without a permit.

He is the last defendant in the case to change his plea rather than go to trial.

John Matt Rasalan, 18, Kiara Garlasa Valdez, 19, and brothers Kerry Khamsouk, 18, and Kevin Khamsouk, 20, pleaded guilty or no contest earlier this month for their roles in the Aug. 11, 2008, robbery.

Police said five males went into a house on Hulakui Drive wearing masks and brandishing what appeared to witnesses as handguns.

Timothy Lapitan, 20, was in the home with his mother and sister. Police said Nichols shot Lapitan, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Rasalan was the first to plead guilty and agreed to testify against the others. All of them will be sentenced in October.

Nichols also pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, second-degree assault and two counts of third-degree assault in another case.

One of third-degree assault charges stems from an attack on a male at Kalakaua District Park on May 1, 2008.

The other charges stem from July 30, 2008, incident at the park in which police said Nichols threw a broken beer bottle into the face of the same male, permanently disfiguring him, hitting him on the head and body with a baseball bat and punching another male.