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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wyland painting thief gets 10 years

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff writer

A Honolulu man who stole a painting valued at $700,000 from a Waikīkī art galley last September was sentenced yesterday to up to 10 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Virgina Crandall ordered James Asing to serve a minimum sentence of four years and six months before becoming eligible for parole.

City deputy prosecutor Sean Sanada asked for a minimum term of 10 years because Asing is a repeat offender, having been convicted of drug offenses in 1993 and two more times in 2003.

But defense attorney Shana Peete described Asing as "nonviolent," saying he did not threaten or harm anyone when he stole the painting "Dolphin Dawn" from Wyland Galleries on Sept. 6.

Asing's prior convictions and the theft of the painting resulted from his drug addiction, Peete said.

In court yesterday, Asing apologized to the artist Wyland and for hurting his own family.

"I want to deal with my drug problem once and for all," Asing told the judge.

Crandall said Asing took responsibility for his actions "early on" in the case and that the painting was recovered undamaged

Noting that Asing's prior convictions were drug-related and that he appeared to have the support of his family members, Crandall said the defendant will have the chance to undergo drug treatment while in prison.