Former Schofield soldier sentenced for Waikiki rape, UH dorm break-ins

Former Schofield soldier sentenced for Waikiki rape, UH dorm break-ins

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu prosecutors on Wednesday sought a 60-year prison sentence for a former Schofield Barracks soldier convicted of sexually assaulting two women. However, they didn't get their wish.

They describe Mark Heath as a serial sexual predator. But the defense argues that he is a highly intelligent, decorated former soldier who can be rehabilitated.

Prosecutors say the 23-year-old deserves back-to-back prison terms totaling 60 years for preying on women and leaving his victims with a constant, unending fear of being attacked.

"He is an untreated sex offender who poses a serious danger to the community," Thalia Murphy, deputy prosecutor, said.

Heath broke into dorm rooms at the University of Hawaii, and stole panties and other property. During one burglary, he fondled a woman while armed with a pair of scissors.

The honors student from Texas talked about her ongoing ordeal at a hearing last year.

"I'm afraid to be alone in my own house," the sex assault victim said in March 2009. "I wake up at night and have to check that the doors are locked because I'm afraid that the one time I don't do it, someone will get in."

The DNA sample that Heath provided after he pleaded guilty to the UH charges linked him to an unsolved rape at a Waikiki apartment in 2007.

Defense attorneys say the former Schofield Barracks soldier, who received two medals during his service, was sexually abused as a child and developed an alcohol problem. They say he was intoxicated during the attacks.

"He's the type of person that can still be rehabilitated and still become a positive, productive member of society," Dean Young, defense attorney, said.

"To the women I assaulted, I'm sorry for my invasion of your privacy and my disregard for your personal space," the convicted sex offender said during his sentencing. "To the military, the community and veterans of the military, I'm sorry for my disgraceful behavior and my negative misrepresentation of the Army."

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario rejected the prosecution's request for consecutive terms and sentenced Heath to 10 years in prison for all charges.

"Difficult phone call you'll have to make to those two victims?" this reporter asked.

"Yes, yes, it's going to be very hard for them to learn that he got concurrent sentencing," Murphy replied.

Heath has already served more than two-and-a-half years of his 10-year sentence.

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