Prosecutor: Beating victim’s escape prevented possible death

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Travis Ezra Burnett, aka Travise Ezra Burnett, is escorted out of Hilo District Court Thursday by a sheriff's deputy.

A 22-year-old woman reportedly beaten by her boyfriend with a claw hammer and dull knife and locked in a room in their Ainaloa home Saturday night told police she kicked out a window screen and ran to a neighbor’s house for help, according to a court document.

The document states the woman, who was badly beaten, told officers she was arguing with her boyfriend, 44-year-old Travis Ezra Burnett, aka Travise Ezra Burnett, when the physical assault occurred. The woman also reportedly told officers Burnett strangled her, told her he was going to kill her, and she thought she was going to die.

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The on-call surgeon at Hilo Medical Center, Dr. Joshua Pierce, said the woman sustained multiple facial fractures and a perforation to the upper digestive tract the doctor described as a serious injury with a substantial risk of death, according to the document.

Burnett was charged Tuesday with second-degree attempted murder, kidnapping, two counts of first-degree assault and single counts of second-degree assault, felony domestic abuse aggravated by strangulation and first-degree terroristic threatening.

At Burnett’s initial appearance Wednesday in Hilo District Court, his court-appointed attorney, Jeremy Butterfield, requested court-supervised release without monetary bail for his client or a reduction of Burnett’s $380,000 bail.

“My client’s not working,” Butterfield told Judge Kanani Laubach. “He receives government benefits, so we would request a reduction in bail based on his inability to post $380,000.”

Deputy Prosecutor Adrienne Shergill objected to either supervised release or a reduction in Burnett’s bail.

“The allegations in this case are particularly disturbing,” Shergill said. “The (court document) indicates that the victim was badly beaten by the defendant and that the victim suffered multiple serious injuries. There is a report from the doctor that indicates that there may be permanent disfigurement on the part of the victim. In addition to the very disturbing allegations in this case, Your Honor, the defendant has five prior … felony convictions, two of which are for assault in the second-degree.”

Shergill noted Burnett also has three domestic abuse convictions, the most recent in 1998.

“The state is most particular concerned that, based on the allegations in the case, if the victim had not escaped, the victim might have been killed by the defendant.”

Laubach maintained Burnett’s bail at $380,000 and ordered him to return at 2 p.m. today for a preliminary hearing.

The most serious offense, second-degree attempted murder, carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole upon conviction. Kidnapping is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

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First-degree assault is a Class B felony carrying a potential 10-year prison sentence. Second-degree assault, felony domestic abuse and first-degree terroristic threatening are all Class C felonies carrying a maximum five-year prison term.

According to court records, Burnett has a criminal record dating back to 1994. In 2007, he was convicted of first-degree burglary in Honolulu Circuit Court and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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