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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Attacker gets 1 year in prison

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Ryan Carrillo, left, waits with his lawyer, Michael Green, to hear his sentence from Circuit Judge Richard Pollack. Carrillo attacked a man outside a Waikiki nightclub in February 2007, injuring him so badly that he has been permanently confined to a wheelchair.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Waikiki assault victim Jesse Greenwood's medical bills total $800,000 so far and are expected to exceed $6 million over the course of his life, a prosecutor said in court yesterday, arguing that Greenwood's attacker should be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Richard Pollack instead ruled that Ryan Carrillo lacked the intent to seriously injure Greenwood and sentenced the defendant to one year in prison and five years of probation.

Pollack also ordered Carrillo, 25, to pay $13,470 in restitution and perform 500 hours of community service.

Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Van Marter said outside of court that Pollack's sentence "grossly minimized the crime the defendant committed."

"It's the type of sentence that causes the public to lose faith" in the criminal justice system, Van Marter said.

Carrillo punched Greenwood, 30, once in the head outside Moose McGillicuddy's Pub & Cafe in February 2007. Both men, visitors from the Mainland, had been drinking earlier inside the nightspot and Greenwood had been involved in a skirmish inside the nightclub with a friend of Carrillo's, according to testimony in the trial earlier this year.

After a second skirmish later on the sidewalk between Greenwood and the same man, Carrillo rushed up behind the victim and delivered what Van Marter termed "a superman punch" to Greenwood's left temple.

Greenwood nearly died from brain injuries and has been left permanently confined to a wheelchair.

Carrillo was charged with attempted murder but Pollack, who presided over the non-jury trial, found him guilty of first-degree assault.

Greenwood's family members have filed a civil suit on his behalf against Carrillo and the bar owners, seeking at least $7 million in damages. That suit is pending.

In arguing for the full prison sentence, Van Marter said, "We haven't seen any showing of remorse" from Carrillo.

But Carrillo told the judge that he deeply regretted his actions and the harm they caused Greenwood.

"I pray for Mr. Greenwood and ask God for forgiveness," Carrillo said.

Defense lawyer Michael Green told the judge that Carrillo has never been in trouble with the law before and noted that numerous family members, friends and co-workers had written letters attesting to Carrillo's good character.

"He's been a wonderful son, a great employee, a wonderful friend," Green said of his client.

On that alcohol-fueled evening, Carrillo exercised "a few seconds of terrible judgment," but "never intended for Mr. Greenwood to be harmed in this way," Green said.

He noted that the victim's blood alcohol level was more than triple the legal limit for operating a car.

Pollack said that while the attack had "a debilitating and devastating effect on Jesse Greenwood and his family," there was no evidence introduced during the trial that Carrillo "intended anything other than broken facial bones" when he punched the victim.

He said the defendant had "no prior criminal history" and that the many letters he received from Carrillo's supporters portrayed him as a "kind, compassionate, hard-working and responsible" young man.

Pollack said it is "unlikely" that Carrillo will commit another violent crime.

Reach Jim Dooley at jdooley@honoluluadvertiser.com.