Judges sen­tence Ki­hei men to 18 months in jail for fa­tal beat­ing

Home­less man died as a re­sult of ‘hor­rific’ at­tack in Kalama Park

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Writer By LILA FU­JI­MOTO

WAILUKU — For par­tic­i­pat­ing in a “hor­rific” beat­ing that led to the death of a home­less man at Kalama Park, two Ki­hei men were each sen­tenced Fri­day to 18-month jail terms.

Kaniela Dutro, 22, and Kekaimalu Cac­pal, 23, also were placed on pro­ba­tion — Dutro for four years and Cac­pal for five years.

“This was a hor­rific case, a tragic case,” said Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Car­son Tani. “No per­son should suf­fer this way and die in this way.”

Dutro, Cac­pal and a third teenager were im­pli­cated in the killing of 44-year-old Michael Phillip Gray. He was found un­con­scious in a pool of blood at a park pav­il­ion at about 9 p.m. March 15, 2014.

The first po­lice of­fi­cer on scene re­ported that Gray’s eyes were swollen shut and were the size of golf balls be­cause of the beat­ing.

He suf­fered nu­mer­ous fa­cial frac­tures and skull frac­tures, a lac­er­ated spleen, frac­tured ribs and a col­lapsed lung, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Af­ter be­ing trans­ported to Maui Memo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Gray died about three weeks later on April 11, 2014.

Orig­i­nally charged with sec­ond­de­gree mur­der, Dutro and Cac­pal each had pleaded no con­test to a re­duced charge of first-de­gree as­sault.

In sen­tenc­ing Dutro, 2nd Cir­cuit Judge Rhonda Loo said it was sad that one of Gray’s canned goods might have been used to beat the vic­tim. While it wasn’t pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied as the weapon, the dented can was found nearby. Gray’s in­juries were con­sis­tent with blunt force trauma.

Dutro’s at­tor­ney, John Parker, said Gray had a 40-ounce bot­tle that he used to strike one of the youths.

At least one wit­ness de­scribed see­ing peo­ple kick­ing and stomp­ing on

Gray, Loo noted. “Peo­ple kept show­ing a to­tal dis­re­gard for him,” she said.

Dutro, who posted bail to be re­leased from jail about a month af­ter he was ar­rested in Septem­ber

2014, asked to be spared any ad­di­tional jail.

“He’s made a real ef­fort to show the court and honor the court, that he re­spects the law,” Parker said.

Dutro was work­ing, do­ing well in his job and com­ply­ing with court re­quire­ments, Parker said.

“I grew up since that,” Dutro said in court Fri­day. “I try my hard­est to do my best. I’ll never turn back to that. I’m truly sorry from the bot­tom of my heart.

“Mr. Gray was a friend of mine.” A plea agree­ment be­tween the de­fense and pros­e­cu­tion rec­om­mended pro­ba­tion and no ad­di­tional jail for Dutro.

Tani said the pros­e­cu­tion had ex­plained and dis­cussed the plea agree­ment with Gray’s fam­ily, in­clud­ing his father on the Main­land. “They un­der­stand, and they ac­cept the plea agree­ment,” Tani said. “But they are not nec­es­sar­ily happy with it.”

Tani said Gray’s father de­cided not to at­tend the sen­tenc­ing be­cause he didn’t want to re­live the pain he ex­pe­ri­enced when his son was killed.

“One of the most painful things that a par­ent should never go though is out­liv­ing their child,” Tani said.

“But that’s what hap­pened in this case.”

Dutro re­port­edly told a pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer he had been drink­ing and was un­der the in­flu­ence that night, and he didn’t want to be a “rat.”

“It ap­pears you’re ba­si­cally un­fazed about this whole in­ci­dent,” Judge Loo told Dutro. “Mr. Gray was your friend. You knew him from Kalama Park. You were aware of the in­ci­dent, and you could have been there to help him.”

Dutro said that when he walked past Gray to leave the pav­il­ion, “I wasn’t aware. I was so in­tox­i­cated.”

Dur­ing a scuf­fle with Gray, Dutro said, “I grabbed one of the boys, told him, ‘Let’s go.’ “

“I re­mem­ber walk­ing right past him as I left, and he was fine,” Dutro said.

He de­nied telling the pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer he didn’t want to be a rat. “I said I was young at the time, and I was scared to say any­thing,” Dutro said.

“I’m af­fected a lot,” he said. “I think about it ev­ery sin­gle day.”

“Maybe you’ve been af­fected a lot, but you’re stand­ing here alive and well,” Judge Loo told Dutro. “Mr. Gray’s in a box 6 feet un­der the ground.

“This was a hor­rific crime where Mr. Gray was beaten to death, and you were a sig­nif­i­cant part of that beat­ing.”

Dutro was taken into cus­tody Fri­day morn­ing to serve the jail term.

Cac­pal, who was sen­tenced Fri­day af­ter­noon in an­other court­room, was given credit for time he had al­ready spent in jail ex­ceed­ing 18 months.

Be­fore be­ing re­leased on su­per­vi­sion in March, Cac­pal had spent 1,269 days or about three years and six months in jail, said his at­tor­ney, Wal­ter Vierra.

“The truth of the mat­ter is Mr. Gray un­for­tu­nately per­ished as a re­sult of Mr. Cac­pal’s ac­tions and the ac­tions of the co-de­fen­dants,” Vierra said. “What­ever the court does to­day will not bring back Mr. Gray.”

Vierra said Cac­pal had done well since be­ing re­leased from jail and was work­ing full time.

“I’ve grown a lot, and I un­der­stand what hap­pened was wrong,” Cac­pal said in court. “I’m very sorry for what hap­pened.”

In also rec­om­mend­ing pro­ba­tion for Cac­pal, Tani said Cac­pal had co­op­er­ated with the pros­e­cu­tion from the start. His co­op­er­a­tion was in­stru­men­tal in the plea agree­ment reached in Dutro’s case, Tani said.

Sec­ond Cir­cuit Judge Joseph Car­doza said the case would war­rant a long pri­son term un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances. But he said the time Cac­pal pre­vi­ously had spent in­car­cer­ated and his co­op­er­a­tion with the pros­e­cu­tion also were fac­tors.

“It did lead to the con­vic­tion of Mr. Dutro, the party viewed as the cen­tral party in this mat­ter,” Car­doza said. “So the court will rec­og­nize that.”

Car­doza said Cac­pal should con­tinue im­prov­ing his life.

“Out of re­spect for the per­son who per­ished and just for your own sake and for the sake of the com­mu­nity, you have to make sure that you do some­thing pro­duc­tive with your life,” the judge told Cac­pal.

He and Dutro were or­dered to share in pay­ing $6,996 in resti­tu­tion.

Both men also were or­dered to com­plete anger man­age­ment treat­ment and to write let­ters apol­o­giz­ing to Gray’s fam­ily. Dutro and Cac­pal were or­dered not to con­sume al­co­hol or il­le­gal drugs.

Dutro was or­dered to per­form 200 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

A third sus­pect, who was 15 years old at the time of the at­tack, is un­der Fam­ily Court ju­ris­dic­tion.

Dutro

Cac­pal

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