Man Who Held Four Hostage Gets Life Sentence - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man Who Held Four Hostage Gets Life Sentence

William Alston William Alston
James Swan James Swan
Michael Alston Michael Alston
Peter Carlisle Peter Carlisle

By: Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- He held four people hostage in a Downtown Honolulu apartment, setting one of his victims on fire. Wednesday, the man convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping and terroristic threatening learns his fate.

With his family in the courtroom for support, William Alston waits to hear how long he'll spend in prison. Prosecutors say the 40-year-old tortured and terrorized his wife and their friends over a 22-hour period.

"He wouldn't deliberately go out and hurt nobody, you know," Michael Alston, convict's brother, said. "They was all getting high, and I think everything triggered from that."

It all happened in an 18th-floor apartment on N. Beretania Street in May 2005. During the trial, James Swann told jurors the defendant stabbed him, poured a flammable liquid on him, and then set him on fire.

"I tried to put myself out," Swann testified on September 8th, 2006. "Roll around on the floor, tear my t-shirt off, just trying to get the fire off me."

Prosecutors ask the judge to lock Alston up for good.

"Life without possibility of parole is reserved for those people who are the most dangerous and the most repetitive of our criminal element," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu's chief prosecutor, said. "This man fits that to a T."

But the defense argues Alston's last conviction was for a property crime back in 2002.

"He paid his dues in prison," Nelson Goo, defense attorney, said. "And now, the prosecution is trying to bring up those convictions so that they can ask this court to tack on more time."

Alston receives a life term with the chance of parole. He must serve a mandatory minimum of 15 years because one of his victims was over the age of 60.

"I'm sure he's destroyed," Michael Alston said. "Anybody would be, you know. He probably figured, ah, I ain't going to let anybody see me cry or sweat. But he's hurting."

The Hawaii Parole Board will decide how much time, beyond the 15-year minimum, Alston must serve before he's eligible for parole.

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