Prosecutors won't seek extended prison term for toddler's killer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Prosecutors won't seek extended prison term for toddler's killer

Matthew Higa Matthew Higa
Cyrus Belt Cyrus Belt
Peter Carlisle Peter Carlisle

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The man convicted of killing a toddler by tossing him off a freeway overpass two years ago will not receive the state's toughest punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors in the Matthew Higa case withdrew their request for extended sentencing, saying it's more important to preserve the guilty verdict.

Last month, a judge convicted Higa of murdering 23-month-old Cyrus Belt. The boy was thrown off a pedestrian bridge and onto the H-1 Freeway, where a delivery truck ran over him.

An enhanced sentencing motion requires a hearing in front of a jury, unless the defendant waives that. Prosecutors are concerned about calling certain witnesses back to testify.

"That could create all sorts of inconsistencies, discrepancies, particularly with some of the witnesses who, as you know, are addicted to crystal methamphetamine," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu prosecutor, said. "That would give a golden opportunity for review on appeal to create problems for the state."

Higa will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Prosecutors say they'll ask the Hawaii parole board to set a minimum term of 200 years.

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