A Hawaii man convicted of attempted murder in a 2016 road rage triple stabbing wore blackface to court Monday, telling a judge, “You’re treating me like a black man, so today, I’m going to be a black man.”
Mark Char, 60, of Ewa Beach, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the attempted murder charge, court records show. He was sentenced to five years in prison for second-degree assault and one year in prison for third-degree assault.
All three sentences are to run concurrently, or at the same time.
The sentencing did not go smoothly. KITV in Honolulu reported that Char, who was convicted by a jury March 1, showed up for sentencing in blackface, which he did himself with a black permanent marker, according to prison officials.
Halawa Correctional Facility staff members tried to get him to wash it off prior to going to court, but Char refused, the news station reported. Judge Todd Eddins, who was presiding over the hearing, did not acknowledge the blackface but told Char he was continuing “a pattern of disruptive behavior designed to undermine the administration of justice.”
“The reason why I’m like this is because I prepared myself to play my part in your kangaroo court,” Char said, according to video footage of the hearing. “Treating me like a black man, so today, I’m going to be a black man.”
Char berated his attorney, Keith Shigetomi, as he sat beside him at the defense table.
“You’re an idiot for not helping me,” Char told Shigetomi.
He also blamed the victims in the case for their own injuries. Testifying in his own defense at his trial earlier this year, he said he pulled over to talk to the other driver and was defending himself when he pulled a knife.
“Now this kangaroo court is giving me a life sentence for me trying to protect and defend myself against the attack from three guys, in essence treating me like a black man,” Char said Monday.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Char was driving a red Camaro, with his wife as a passenger, on the H-1 freeway in the Waipahu area of Honolulu the afternoon of Aug. 1, 2016, when he pulled over after an incident with another vehicle. The driver also pulled over onto the shoulder of the road.
A witness told investigators one man, later identified as Char, got out of the Camaro and two men got out of the second car. The men, identified by court records as driver Jesther Marland and passenger Deion Anunciacion, began chasing Char and punching him.
A third driver, Jene Winn, attempted to stop the fight, the newspaper reported. Winn soon retreated, telling the witness Char had stabbed him in the hand.
The man said Char had also stabbed the two men from the white car, Marlang in the stomach and Anunciacion in the arm. The men, ages 22 and 23, were taken to a hospital, where Marlang nearly died of his injuries.
The Star-Advertiser reported that witnesses testified Char also used pepper spray on the men and bit two of Marlang’s fingers so viciously that blood flew up into his face.
Investigators later found Char back at his home, where he had barricaded himself inside and refused to come out. The newspaper reported that he surrendered more than two hours later.
See the criminal complaint against Mark Char for two of his victims below.
Eddins castigated Char during sentencing, describing him as a “menace.”
“You almost killed an innocent motorist,” the judge said before being interrupted by Char.
“No, it didn’t happen that way,” Char said.
“You cut off -- the evidence showed, Mr. Char,” Eddins continued.
“There was no evidence on my part,” Char responded. “My lawyer failed.”
Upon sentencing Char, Eddins gave him a piece of advice.
“What you need to do is look in the mirror,” Eddins said. “And if you look in the mirror, Mr. Char, you’re not gonna see a black person. You’re gonna see a menace. You’re gonna see a menace to society.”
“I’m going to see a crooked judge,” Char responded.
At the time of his arrest, Char had a long history of arrests for traffic-related incidents and harassment of other people, the Star-Advertiser reported. He was awaiting trial in three separate felony cases, including a second road rage incident from two months before.
He was also awaiting trial in a terroristic threat case in which he barricaded himself into a home in 2013. The newspaper reported the third felony case involved him allegedly injuring a motorcyclist with his truck.
The dispositions of those cases were not immediately available.
University of Hawaii law professor Kenneth Lawson told KITV Char’s blackface was an insult to real victims of racial injustice.
“The way it came across to me was, ‘Look, you’re supposed to treat black folks like this, not me,’” Lawson said.
Lawson, who is black, also criticized the judge and attorneys for allowing the hearing to continue.
“To allow that proceeding to happen as if that man ain’t sitting there with blackface on, to me, it’s reprehensible,” Lawson said. “I know we don’t have a large black population in Hawaii, but I’m telling you, man, I wouldn’t do it with any race. I wouldn’t let a client come in and mock any race.”
A state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman told KHNL in Honolulu that Char will face internal disciplinary action for refusing prison staff members’ commands to wash the marker off his face, head and neck before his sentencing hearing.
“He will be charged with disobeying several direct orders,” the spokeswoman said.
The punishment could include stricter confinement and the loss of privileges, the news station reported.
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