A 37-year-old Honokaa man was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for a bizarre and prolonged domestic abuse incident more than two years ago.
Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura told Bronson Lee Ganigan the prison sentence is warranted “because of the numerous serious offenses that are involved in this case and the significant harm suffered by the victim.”
Ganigan pleaded no contest on Sept. 16 to kidnapping, second-degree assault, felony domestic abuse, first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree cruelty to animals and two counts of second-degree reckless endangering. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped three counts of carrying a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, plus single counts of first-degree reckless endangering, first-degree terroristic threatening and felony domestic abuse.
Ganigan will receive credit for the 13 months he spent in jail before a bail bondsman posted his $34,500 bond.
The victim, a Hilo woman, then 42, told police she was in a sexual relationship with Ganigan but didn’t live with him or consider him her boyfriend. She reported that during the period from Aug. 13-17, 2017, she was at Ganigan’s father’s home with him. She said during that period, Ganigan twice put a bullet in the cylinder of a .38-caliber revolver, spun the cylinder, put the handgun to her left temple and pulled the trigger. The weapon didn’t discharge either time.
The woman also told police Ganigan said he wouldn’t let her go, and if she left him, he’d tie her up and kill her family. She said he also knocked her down, choked her, pistol whipped her and beat a chained small dog belonging to an acquaintance in front of her, then shot the dog twice, killing it.
The victim reportedly managed to escape Aug. 17, 2017, and ran to her brother’s home about a quarter-mile away. That evening, Ganigan went to the brother’s house carrying a rifle and fired from the roadway with the woman, her brother and the brother’s girlfriend inside. None were injured.
Deputy Prosecutor Suzanna Tiapula asked Nakamura to impose a 15-year sentence, 10 years for the kidnapping charge and an additional five years for the other felony charges to which Ganigan pleaded.
In a court document, Tiapula wrote that Ganigan, unprovoked, “acted in this case with brutality and cruelty and the violence was designed to inflict maximum fear and terror” in the victim.
Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa asked the judge to impose a sentence of probation plus the time Ganigan already served. He said a prison sentence for Ganigan, who has no prior felony convictions “would not be in the interest of justice.”
Ebesugawa said a probation sentence would allow Ganigan “to rehabilitate his life, to make his apologies and amends to those affected, and to lead the rest of his life in a positive” way.
Ganigan addressed the court, reading from a prepared statement, “humbly asking for probation … because I love my family and because I need to support my only daughter … and to provide her with everything she needs to live a healthy, normal life.”
He added he wanted a chance “to prove to my family, the court and to the community that I am a good person, and given the chance, I can and will be a good, law-abiding citizen.”
According to Ganigan, since his release on bail, he obtained a full-time job, steered clear of alcohol and drugs and enrolled in anger management classes, substance abuse treatment and a mental health program. He said it was his goal to become a certified arborist and open a tree-trimming and landscaping business.
Nakamura noted Ganigan’s minimal prior criminal history and acknowledged Ganigan had done well since his release on bail.
“You can lead a law-abiding life if you choose to do so. The question is whether you will choose to do so in the future,” the judge said, and wished Ganigan good luck as a sheriff’s deputy moved to escort him from the courtroom.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald