Parents of malnourished girl sentenced to life in prison - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Parents of malnourished girl sentenced to life in prison

Denise Wright Denise Wright
Melvin Wright Melvin Wright
Maurice Arrisgado, deputy prosecutor Maurice Arrisgado, deputy prosecutor

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saying they failed as parents, an Oahu judge on Thursday handed down life prison terms for a former couple whose child was found severely malnourished and near death in her home nearly three years ago.

Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura called it a breach of trust, telling Melvin and Denise Wright they had an obligation to provide for their daughter when they committed themselves to being parents.

"You have two parents who are more than well-nourished and this is absolutely inexcusable," Maurice Arrisgado, deputy prosecutor, said. "I hope this sends a clear message."

The Wrights, who were convicted of attempted murder, made no statements prior to receiving their punishment. During the trial in September, they said they did the best they could for their child.

Their then-12-year-old daughter, Indigo, was found emaciated and unresponsive in their Kinau Street apartment. Prosecutors say she was skin and bones, and weighed just 29 lbs.

"She's going to be completely handicapped and dependent the rest of her life and it's all because of those two, the parents," Arrisgado said. "I believe this is a just sentence for their gross misconduct."

Prosecutors want the parents to serve at least 50 years before being considered for parole.

Denise Wright's attorney says her client, who had a rough upbringing, has been judged too harshly by the public.

The State of Hawaii, which covered the victim's medical costs, is seeking more than $20,000 in restitution. A hearing on that is set for January 28th.

Copyright 2009 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly