Hiramoto Sentenced to Life in Prison - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hiramoto Sentenced to Life in Prison

Donny Hiramoto, left, listens to his sentence in court on Monday. Donny Hiramoto, left, listens to his sentence in court on Monday.
Judge Steve Alm Judge Steve Alm
Hiramoto embraces family before being led off to jail. Hiramoto embraces family before being led off to jail.

by Darren Pai

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Donny Hiramoto's family waited for him to appear in a Honolulu Circuit Court room. When he emerged his two-year old daughter called out, "I love you Daddy."

The next message he heard was not so endearing.  A state judge sentenced Hiramoto to life in prison with the possibility of parole for killing 71-year-old Robert Lee over a gambling debt in December of 2004.

"Whoever said that illegal gambling is a victimless crime can only look at this case and know that is absolutely not correct," said Circuit Judge Steve Alm.

Security cameras caught the crime on tape. Prosecutors said Hiramoto waited at Lee's Makiki apartment building and shot him in the head.

"The fact that a gun was used, shot at point blank range I think is most aggravating, most serious about this case," said Deputy Prosecutor Darrell Wong.

Although he had plenty of support in the courtroom, neither Hiramoto nor his family chose to make any statements to the court or to the media. His attorney say that's because they didn't want to say anything that might hurt his chances of winning on appeal.

"There really was no evidence in this case that Donny Hiramoto shot anybody," said Jeffrey Hawk, Hiramoto's attorney.

"What we have is a videotape of him in the area at the time of the offense and really not much more," Hawk said.

Hiramoto embraced his family before leaving the courtroom. It will be at least 15 years before a parole board can set him free to rejoin them.

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