Family of murder victim faces convicted killer at sentencing

Phillip Deleon
Phillip Deleon
Shawn Powell's family
Shawn Powell's family
Shawn Powell and family
Shawn Powell and family

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The family of a man who was shot dead outside a karaoke bar in the Ala Moana area last year faced the killer at his sentencing Monday.

From loving father to drug-using ex-con, the murder victim was described in vastly different ways during the hearing.

Unlike his older brothers and sisters, one-year-old Kash will never know his daddy. Kash was born after his father, Shawn Powell, 35, was gunned down in the parking lot of Keeaumoku Plaza in July 2009.

"No pictures or videos will bring him to know what it feels like to have his father hold him or to know what he smells like," Sherisse Powell, victim's sister, said. "He brought a light to this world, energy that was contagious."

A jury in October convicted Phillip Deleon on half a dozen counts, including second-degree murder, reckless endangerment, and firearms offenses.

"We'll continue to miss him to the end of our days due to a permanent, unnecessary, selfish act of one person," Sherisse Powell said.

Deleon did not testify at trial. At sentencing, the 34-year-old broke his silence.

He says he thought Powell and his friends had followed him after a run-in at another location, so he grabbed a gun out of the trunk of his car to protect himself.

"Powell began swearing and walking at me," the convicted murderer said. "I yelled back at him, telling him to stay away. As he got closer, I fired a shot into the air, hoping he would stop coming. He didn't stop."

Toxicology tests revealed Powell, who died from massive blood loss after taking a bullet to the chest, had alcohol and cocaine in his system.

Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall sentenced Deleon to life in prison with the possibility of parole, and set a mandatory minimum term of 20 years for the use of a firearm.

"I never wanted to hurt anyone that night," Deleon said. "I certainly didn't want to kill anyone."

The Hawaii parole board will decide how much time beyond the 20-year minimum Deleon must serve before he can be considered for release.

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