Man accused in brutal murder of realtor sentenced to life in pri - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man accused in brutal murder of realtor sentenced to life in prison

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
Mary Beth San Juan (Image: Hawaii News Now) Mary Beth San Juan (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A man charged with the brutal murder of a realtor and actress nearly four years ago was sentenced to life in prison with a 20-year minimum on Wednesday.

Vernon Baker pleaded guilty to all charges against him, including drug crimes.

Police say Baker stabbed Mary Beth San Juan to death before leaving her body gagged, bound and wrapped in a rug in the driveway of her Punahou Street home in July 2013.

It's a crime even Baker described as senseless.

"I can't, I can't apologize," said a tearful Baker in court on Wednesday. "I can, but I can't. There's no possible thing I can say to make this right. I don't deserve to live, I don't deserve to live."

Authorities tied Baker to the crime after they discovered San Juan’s wallet in a dumpster behind the Waikiki hostel where he was staying. Surveillance video also showed a man with Baker’s physical traits using her ATM card in Moana.

Police arrested him after security footage in Waikiki showed Baker handing over a backpack with the victim’s computer inside.

San Juan’s death shocked many, leaving her large circle of friends and family in mourning.

"There is no doubt that this is a heinous crime, and what even Mr. Baker believes is a senseless crime," Circuit Judge Paul Wong said just before issuing his sentence.

Baker was an acquaintance of San Juan's and had met her and her ex-husband just weeks before the murder.

"Mary Beth had helped Mr. Baker in the past find a place to stay for months," said the victim's ex-husband Alberto San Juan. "And I don't understand how he can do this to somebody who's as beautiful as Mary Beth, who has always been nice to people. I just didn't understand that."

The Parole Board will next take up issue of whether Baker will serve the rest of his life in prison or the 20 year minimum.

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