HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the brutal beating death of his girlfriend, who was seven and a-half months pregnant at the time.
Marwan Jackson, 30, was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Sarah Fay, 34. She was found beaten in their Fern Acres Subdivision home a day after Thanksgiving, 2005. Although brain-dead, Fay was kept on life support until her son was delivered by Caesarean section.
Jackson maintained that her death was an accident, But Fay's family, who came from Oregon and Colorado for the sentencing, believe otherwise.
"I believe Sara, my sister, was murdered based on what I witnessed when I walked into Queen's Medical Center on the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2005," Michael Fay said. "What I saw was her body, beaten and bitten. Bite marks, black eyes, bruised, swollen. This was no accident. This was murder."
Fay's sister, Stacey Fay, said she still has nightmares from when she saw her sister in the hospital. She addressed Jackson directly, and asked, "What gave you the right to beat my sister? What made you think it was okay to verbally abuse her?"
Fay's brother-in-law, Larry Phillips, went up to the lectern with a small green box, which he held as he addressed the court.
"What sits before you, in my hand, is what's left of Sarah Fay. Bones and ashes," he said.
Manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of 20 years, but prosecutors asked for an extended term because of his previous record of violence, including four prior felony convictions.
"Our community needs -- deserves to be protected from this man," said deputy prosecutor Mike Kagami. "He has demonstrated that he cannot lead a non-violent, law-abiding life. And that's why he needs to be in prison the rest of his life."
Jackson expressed remorse, but maintained the death was accidental.
"She was my best friend, my sister, everything to me," said Jackson. "What happened was a tragic accident. And it's been extremely tragic for both families. I loved this woman above all."
Jackson didn't ask for mercy. He didn't receive any.
Hilo Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura handed down the extended sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Sarah Fay's family was pleased with the sentence.
"I'm so relieved. And happy, actually," Stacey Fay said. "I feel kind of -- like I can go on a little bit."
"He is just a vile, disgusting, violent, horrible monster," said Fay's sister-in-law, Carie Fay. "And he's where he needs to be."
Fay's baby boy is now a healthy five and-a-half years old. Named Josiah, he is being raised by relatives on the mainland.