May 18, 2006 at 2:53 AM HST - Updated July 26 at 9:05 AM
(KHNL) -- Toni Kurihara is only allowed to speak to her son on Tuesdays and Fridays. When they spoke last night, they had no idea what today would bring. "He didn't want to get his hopes up," said Kurihara.
Just over two weeks ago, Shaun Rodrigues made this tearful plea to the parole board. He said, "It hurts to sit in my cell every day, waiting for the day my innocence will be proven." But today, Rodrigues learned he'd have to spend many more days in prison.
A judge convicted Rodrigues of breaking into a Manoa home in 2000, tying up a woman and her daughter and robbing them.
The 26 year old, who had earlier installed an alarm system at the house, maintains he's a victim of mistaken identity.
Kurihara said, "He was home sleeping next to his brother. If people know me, I would put my son in jail if he did anything. So I would never lie for my son."
Prosecutors say the sentence matches the seriousness of the crime. "This minimum term is consistent with the seriousness of the offenses that inmate Rodrigues had committed. Hopefully now, the victims can lead a normal life," Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara said.
The former National Guardsman won't be eligible for parole until January 2nd, 2018. The family says it's a harsh reality that will be difficult to convey to Rodrigues' son.
"What do you tell a 2 year old? We think the Sugiharas made a mistake or we know they made a mistake?! We just need to hang in there. We're not going to give up," said Kurihara.