Saturday, June 9, 2001

Ex-cop to appeal
sentence for gun
threat on wife

Phillip Bugado Jr. got 10 years
for abuse, terroristic threatening
and imprisonment

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> Defense attorney David Sereno said former police officer Phillip Bugado Jr. plans to appeal his sentence of 10 years in prison on domestic violence and gun-threat convictions.

"The family believes the 10 years was excessive," Sereno said yesterday.

Maui Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto, who on Thursday ordered consecutive sentences for a felony and several misdemeanor convictions, said he had grave doubts the defendant would ever understand what he did was wrong.

Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes said she agreed with the judge's sentence and felt the 10-year term was appropriate, considering the safety of the public.

The felony stemmed from Bugado pointing a semiautomatic handgun at his wife, Victoria Afaga, in their Wailuku apartment last year after she asked for a separation.

During the sentencing, Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes said Bugado's fixation with Afaga continued after his arrest.

Mendes said Afaga's male friend's tires were slashed.

Sereno said Bugado disagreed with the allegation that he slashed the tires.

"They never established it with proof," Sereno said.

Sereno said the 10-year sentence was higher than that of others who have been convicted of more serious offenses.

He said he planned to ask the court to reconsider the sentencing within the next 90 days.

Bugado, 30, was convicted by a jury in April of first-degree terroristic threatening, three counts of abuse, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

Bugado also was convicted of charges stemming from a dinner argument on March 6 in which he pushed Afaga to the ground and began choking her.

He pleaded no contest to possessing firearms on March 8, after a restraining order was imposed upon him.

Under state law, Raffetto was bound to sentence Bugado to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison for threatening someone with a semiautomatic weapon.

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