Guest Writer Nicholas Iwamoto — Writer’s Salon

Nicholas Iwamoto survived a harrowing brush with death. This is the Victim Impact Statement he wrote to the judge in 2016 in an attempt to encourage the judge to not release his assailant from the state mental hospital. Read his story in entirety here. 


To the Honorable Judge Garibaldi,

The thought of allowing myself to be so vulnerable before you makes me sick.

Opening wounds that are almost eight years old is incredibly painful and draining. I have no choice. You need to know what my assailant did to me. You need to understand the devastation he wreaked on my life. You need to understand that he poses a grave danger to the public.

I have been informed that my assailant has made great strides in his treatment and he just wants to move on with his life. Apparently, his progress is such that he cannot recall butchering me like an animal and disposing of my body off a cliff. Bully for him.

I remember my blood spattering his face when he severed an artery in my temple.There are things that were said and done that will remain between the defendant and me, butknow this: I fought with every fiber of my being to stay alive. He responded by tossing me off the top of Koko Crater.

I have seen my liver. It bleeds black. I have seen my left lung. It squirts when it’s punctured. I have choked on my own blood. I have tasted a mouthful of dirt.

Eighteen stab wounds

Broken neck

Fractured skull

Two collapsed lungs

Punctured left lung

Epidural hematoma

Lacerated liver

Lacerated diaphragm


Severed temporal artery

Two severed tendons

Broken ankle

Five pints of lost blood

Two bouts of pneumonia

Soul crushing pain and subsequent drug addiction, When I yawn, I get excruciating headaches. When I take a deep breath, my lungs burn. I’ve had a seven year cough. When I stand, my back hurts. When I am awake, every single movement I make revolves around the fear of re-injuring my neck, the neck he broke. The certainty of disc degeneration and future spinal operations hang over my head. It will remain that way for the rest of my life.

I have PTSD. I cannot hear a loud voice without experiencing an unbearable visceral reaction. My mom has PTSD. I have seen the strongest person I have ever known reduced to a shell of her former self.

This can be traced to my assailant’s actions and the disgusting betrayal we endured from our justice system and the State of Hawaii. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact he was granted UNSUPERVISED release from the state hospital so he could attendWindward Community College. That is one of the most embarrassing and egregious miscarriages of justice I have ever heard of. I wish I could afford to finish my education.

The fact he was ruled temporarily insane means absolutely nothing to me. We are nothing more than the sum of our choices. He made choices. His choices left me with a lifetime of debilitating pain. His choices destroyed my mom. His choices killed my dream of fighting for my country. His choices have embarrassed me. You will never understand how humiliating it is to be violated by a bladed weapon. The fact that he was ruled temporarily insane will mean little to potential victims in the future.

What do I do now? What am I supposed to do if you grant his release? I’m tired of this. I’m tired of fighting for myself. There is not much of me left to give; no one knows the intestinal fortitude it takes to do this for over seven years.

No one knows how strong I am to make myself so weak before you. My assailant committed quite possibly the most brutal attempted murder in this state’s history. It is nothing less than a miracle that I am alive to write to you today.

Your Honor, I implore you to deny his request for conditional release. Given the heinous nature of his crime and the unpredictability of his mental condition, if you grant his release, I believe that you will send this message to the people of Hawaii: one individual’s reintroduction to the community, is more important than public safety. The possibility fills me with dread.

It is impossible to know what he will do if he is released. We can never know how he will behave in the future, but we can look at his past. It is entirely plausible that he can be an upstanding member of society for years and years, then, in an instant, he could have another psychotic break. Will he be set off by another pair of Japanese men wearing blue, as he apparently was on February 1st, 2009?

Are you willing to take that risk? Who will accept responsibility if he murders innocent people in another schizophrenic episode? Clearly, he can shirk responsibility. Who will accept responsibility? Will his doctors?

Will you?


Nicholas Iwamoto

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