Hiramoto Found Guilty in Makiki Murder - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hiramoto Found Guilty in Makiki Murder

Donny Hiramoto found guilty of murder in court Friday. Donny Hiramoto found guilty of murder in court Friday.
Surveillance video shows Hiramoto outside the murder victim's apartment complex the night of the fatal shooting. Surveillance video shows Hiramoto outside the murder victim's apartment complex the night of the fatal shooting.

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A man who was caught on surveillance tape at a murder scene swore he didn't do it. But in the end, jurors didn't buy it. On Friday, a Circuit Court jury found Donny Hiramoto guilty of killing his elderly bookie.

When the court clerk read the verdict, Hiramoto's wife and young children, who were at the courthouse throughout the trial, broke down in tears. At least one woman on the jury started sobbing as well.

A carpenter by trade, Donny Hiramoto feels the hammer drop.

"We the jury in this case find the defendant guilty as charged," the clerk read.

A panel of four men and eight women deliberates for about nine hours before convicting the 33-year-old of second-degree murder and two firearms offenses.

"They convicted an innocent man," Jeffrey Hawk, defense attorney, said. "The jury made the wrong decision. It's a human system, and the human system has let us down."

Prosecutors say the admitted gambler shot 71-year-old Robert Lee in the head because he owed Lee money. The victim was gunned down after he parked his truck at his apartment building in December 2004.

"We are very pleased with the outcome," Darrell Wong, deputy prosecutor, said. "I've informed the family. Mrs. Lee was very relieved."

Surveillance cameras captured the defendant at the scene the night of the murder. Hiramoto told the jury he was there, but maintains another man pulled the trigger.

"It doesn't show the area of the shooting," Hawk said. "It doesn't show the decedent. It shows nothing other than Mr. Hiramoto being there, and that's a circumstantial case."

Prosecutors say Hiramoto faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison for the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. To put that in perspective, his youngest child, who is two years old, will be 17 before there's even a possibility of parole.

"This is the consequences of what Mr. Hiramoto did," Wong said.

The father of three, who was free on bail, was immediately taken into custody. Hiramoto is scheduled to be sentenced July 17th.

His attorney plans to appeal.

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