Big Island man convicted in wife's death has parole hearing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Big Island man convicted in wife's death has parole hearing

Ken Mathison Ken Mathison
Vyonne Vyonne
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Hawaii Paroling Authority heard an appeal from convicted killer Ken Mathison on Wednesday. 

Mathison was appearing via videoconference from prison in Arizona.  His attorney was present at the hearing.  Mathison was hoping to have his sentence of 90 years in prison before the possibility of parole reduced to its original term of 25 years in the death of his wife Vyonne.

Mathison, who is a former Hawaii County police officer, was convicted of murder in 1996.   In addition to the murder charge, he was sentenced to a concurrent 20 year kidnapping sentence.

"We can't fix what was broken in this case, but what we can do is figure out a sufficient time for Mr. Mathison to serve out his debt to society but not so long as to keep him incarcerated for such a period of time such that it is a life sentence" said his attorney Richard Gronna.

Deputy Attorney General Vince Kanemoto asked that the sentence remain at 90 years, as it has been since a hearing in 2009.

Also in attendance were the victim's brother, Robert Martins, and his wife Sharon.  A visibly distraught Martins pleaded his case to the board.

"Please, please help us, keep this animal in here [prison]" he said through tears.

Despite the emotion, it could be legal precedent that determines how long Mathison remains incarcerated.

Hawaii Paroling Authority Chairman Bert Matsuoka pointed to the ‘Fukusaku issues'.  Those issues stem from an appeal heard by the Hawaii Supreme Court in which Raito Fukusaku successfully argued that an increase in sentence time before the possibility of parole was illegal without the introduction of new evidence to support the decision.

The Deputy AG will now have two weeks to draft a brief and submit it to the HPA on why the sentence should remain at 90 years.  After that, the defense attorney will have two weeks to submit a response.  From there, the Paroling Authority will notify Mathison of their decision.


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