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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, October 27, 2002

Man gets 20 years in death of bouncer

Advertiser Staff and News Services

A Mililani man convicted in the kicking death of a nightclub bouncer last year has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Tony Kwak, 23, was sentenced Friday by Circuit Judge Michael Town. He was convicted in May of reckless manslaughter in the death of Robert Cullen, 50.

Prosecutors said Cullen was trying to break up a fight outside Venus Nite Club Oct. 6 when he was kicked "football-style" in the chest by Kwak.

City deputy prosecutor Barry Kemp said during trial that Kwak was at the club with some friends when one of them got into a fight. Cullen was called to restore order and was holding a man in a headlock when he was kicked by Kwak, Kemp said.

Cullen died early Oct. 6 at Straub Clinic and Hospital.

But deputy public defender Debra Loy maintained it was a case of mistaken identity. She said Kwak was at the club but was trying to break up the fight.

Loy said Kwak wound up defending himself and was scuffling with another man when he turned and saw the mortally injured Cullen on the ground.

Kwak originally was charged with second-degree murder, but Town reduced the charge to reckless manslaughter.

Richard Pafundi, Kwak's private attorney, is appealing the conviction.