Former UH volleyball star pleads no contest to assault

Kim Willoughby (on right)
Kim Willoughby (on right)
Sherri Chun
Sherri Chun
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A former University of Hawaii women's volleyball standout, charged with felony assault, gave up her court fight Monday.

This conviction is the latest in a series of problems for Kim Willoughby.

As the 2003 national collegiate volleyball player of the year and a three-time All-American, Kim Willoughby has signed more autographs for fans than paperwork for a defense lawyer.

But on this day, the outside hitter, who's accused of hitting a woman outside a nightclub in December 2006, decides not to fight the charge.

"State versus Kim Willoughby for a change of plea," the court clerk announced.

Prosecutors say the 28-year-old went on the attack after the victim walked away from an altercation inside Pipeline Cafe.

"(The victim's) friend and her exited or tried to leave the nightclub," Sherri Chun, deputy prosecutor, said. "They were followed by the defendant and the defendant punched her several times in the face, breaking her nasal, nasal bone and eye socket."

Charged with first-degree assault, and initially claiming self-defense, Willoughby reaches a plea deal.

"The victim wanted to basically get closure, put it behind her," Chun said. "And she was happy with the decision to reduce the charge to assault in the second degree, which is still a Class C felony."

As a member of Team USA, Willoughby won a silver medal in indoor volleyball at the Beijing Olympics. Last month, she reportedly tested positive for a steroid.

"How do you wish to plea to assault in the second degree, not guilty, guilty or no contest?" Circuit Judge Karen Ahn asked.

"No contest," the defendant replied.

Second-degree assault is punishable by up to five years in prison. But under the plea deal, Willoughby will be sentenced to probation.

She previously got a deferral in a domestic abuse case.

"This is the first felony offense, so we have agreed to probation, full restitution," Chun said. "So that will hopefully close out the civil suit for the victim."

The defense had no comment.

Willoughby's sentencing is set for July 20th.