HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Leeward Oahu man who killed his estranged wife's boyfriend two years ago received a 20-year prison sentence Monday. The judge also set a mandatory minimum term that Paul Kaeo must serve because he has a prior conviction for sex assault.
Convicted killer Paul Kaeo, 47, walked into the courtroom, making no eye contact with his victim's family members who were seated in the gallery.
"All rise," the court bailiff announced.
Kaeo was convicted of reckless manslaughter for beating Charles Kahumoku, 49, to death with a metal rod in 2009.
At sentencing, deputy prosecutor Adrian Dhakhwa read a letter from the victim's sister.
"They say that time heals but is never forgotten," Dhakhwa read. "My brother wasn't the perfect man. He had his faults, as do all of us, but to be brutally murdered is unacceptable."
The deadly attack happened outside Kaeo's home on Hakeakea Street in Maili. Prosecutors say the victim arrived to pick up his first cousin, Debbie, whom he was dating and who was Kaeo's estranged wife.
"The defendant had a prior conviction for abusing his wife," Dhakhwa said. "He then proceeded to molest Debbie's daughter, so he has a prior sex assault conviction, and this escalated into killing Debbie's new boyfriend."
Manslaughter carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Calling Kaeo a repeat offender, prosecutors asked the judge to impose a mandatory minimum term of six years and eight months before he can be considered for parole.
The defense sought a five-year minimum.
"The state charged Paul with murder and today they still describe it as Paul committing a brutal act of murder. The evidence showed anything but that," Randall Hironaka, defense attorney, said.
"Mr. Kaeo, do you have anything you wish to say," Karen Ahn, Circuit Court judge, asked.
"No, no," the convicted killer replied.
The judge granted the prosecution's mandatory minimum request.