Elderly man pleads guilty to deadly shooting at senior housing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Elderly man pleads guilty to deadly shooting at senior housing complex

Melvin Yoshida Melvin Yoshida
Michelle Puu Michelle Puu

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 71-year-old man accused of fatally shooting his neighbor at a senior housing complex in Honolulu will likely never enjoy freedom again after pleading guilty to manslaughter and a firearms offense Wednesday.

Melvin Yoshida was originally charged with murder. Under a plea deal with prosecutors, he agreed to a 20-year prison sentence.

He is 71 years old, has diabetes and high blood pressure, and is on anti-seizure medication. But prosecutors don't want anyone to forget that Melvin Yoshida is a killer, gunning down Clare Silva, 54, at Punchbowl Homes in April of last year.

"Before he went to her residence, prepared with a loaded firearm and shot her multiple times," Michelle Puu, deputy prosecutor, said.

Other tenants at the public housing complex for senior citizens and disabled people say Yoshida started pursuing Silva after his wife's death.

"From her point of view, she was just trying to be friendly," Puu said. "He was recently widowed, ironically by a woman of the same name. His wife was also named Clare."

The defense was expected to argue that Yoshida was suffering from extreme mental or emotional distress at the time of the deadly shooting.

"Just the night prior, she had had her boyfriend stay the night with her," Puu said. "We believe that that may have been what led him to shoot her the following day."

The accused murderer, who is hard of hearing, was allowed to get right in front of the judge as he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and a firearms offense.

"You have the right to a trial no matter how strong the evidence might be against you," Dexter Del Rosario, Circuit Court judge, said.

"Yes, but I still plead guilty, sir," the defendant said.

The elderly man broke down in tears as he agreed to a sentence of at least 20 years.

"If later on you become unhappy with your sentence, you understand you can not change your mind and ask to have a trial?" the judge asked.

"Yes," Yoshida replied through tears.

"He should never see the outside of a prison ever again," Puu said. "That's justice for the victim. That's serving the public. Her one and only daughter is comfortable with this outcome."

The firearms offense carries a 10-year mandatory minimum prison term. Yoshida will be formally sentenced July 21st.

Deputy public defender Darcia Forester declined comment.

More: Friends say woman fatally shot after turning down widower's advances

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly