Pahoa man gets 20 years for killing man in fight over beer
By John Burnett
HILO — A Pahoa man accused of killing another man in a dispute over cheap beer was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison.
Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara told 37-year-old Robert Grant that due to a lengthy history of intoxication and violence, he'd "run the risk ... that somebody was going to get seriously injured."
In December, a jury convicted Grant of manslaughter for the death of 47-year-old Daniel Martina.
Grant kicked Martina and sent him sprawling backward in the parking lot of the Pahoa Community Center on Nov. 1, 2008.
Martina died six days later at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. An autopsy found that Martina died of a brain injury caused by a fractured skull.
Witness Talbert Lum Ho testified the impact of Martina's head striking the asphalt sounded "like one coconut hitting a rock."
Grant said that Martina became aggressive, cursed him and tried to punch him after Grant gave several others a Natural Ice beer, but did not make the same offer to Martina. Grant testified during the trial that he kicked Martina in an attempt to get away from him because "he looked like he had a disease or something. I didn't want to touch him; I didn't want him touching me."
Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Hollocker argued for the 20-year prison term.
"Daniel Martina was picking up his hat when he was kicked by the defendant," Hollocker said. "He was not the aggressor in this case. The fact that he bent down and picked up the hat tells us that he was not actively engaged in a fight. If he was engaged in a fight he could care less where his hat was."
Grant's court-appointed attorney, Francis Alcain, argued that none of Grant's 22 prior convictions were for felonies, and that his client should receive probation.
Grant maintained his innocence during sentencing, calling Martina "belligerent" and "aggressive."
"There's been a lot of lies about me by the prosecutor and I know they're not proven and I'm not a bad person," Grant told the judge. "... I didn't mean to hurt him. ... I'm sorry. I never expected nothin' like this to happen. ... I didn't kick him that hard. ... I just wanted to be away from him."
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