Man Accused of Trying to Kill Police Officer Given Maximum Sentence

Officer Jeffrey Omai
Officer Jeffrey Omai
Daniel Vesper
Daniel Vesper

(KHNL) -- His trial lasted just a day-and-a-half, but his punishment will last a lifetime.

A judge Tuesday sentenced Daniel Vesper III for running over a Honolulu police officer with a van in December 2004.

"On December 2nd, 2004, my entire world changed," Officer Jeffrey Omai told the court.

With his fellow officers backing him up, Omai stands in his police uniform, knowing his presence here is a miracle.

"Multiple skull fractures, a broken sinus," he said, describing his injuries. "The upper and lower portions of my right eye socket were broken. I had a torn rotator cuff, several torn discs in my spinal column."

Daniel Vesper III was convicted on multiple counts, including first-degree attempted murder.

Plain-clothes officers had spotted the fugitive in a stolen van in the Honolulu Community College parking lot, and were moving in to arrest him.

Prosecutors say Vesper deliberately ran over Officer Omai. "Every day, I wake up to pain," Omai said.

But he refuses to let Vesper end his career.

Omai underwent intensive therapy, and has returned to the job he loves.

"We understand the risk, and we know that we might not make it to the end of the day," he said. "However, Mr. Vesper knew what he was doing, and could have avoided putting me through this terrible ordeal." The defense maintains it was an accident.

"There was no intentional, intent to kill Officer Omai on that day," Jeffrey Hawk, defense attorney, said.

Based on the facts in the case, Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall says the stiffest sentence that Hawaii has, which is life in prison without the possibility of parole, is appropriate for Vesper.

"I think in time, once he gets the help he needs, he may come to realize what he did," Omai said.