Teen receives 2-year jail term for killing two women in car crash - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Teen receives 2-year jail term for killing two women in car crash

Michelle Benevedes Michelle Benevedes
Racquel 'Rocky' Akau-Aila Racquel 'Rocky' Akau-Aila
Sandra Storm-Conway Sandra Storm-Conway
Tyler Duarte Tyler Duarte

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A Waimanalo teen convicted of killing two women in a car crash last year learned his punishment during an emotional court hearing Thursday.

Prosecutors sought a 10-year prison term, while the defense asked for probation.

Tears well up in Candace Akau's eyes, as family members recount her mother's violent death.

"My sister lay screaming, her body crushed into that brick wall, covered in wreckage with her dead cousin on her lap," Sandra Storm-Conway, victim's sister, said.

Tyler Duarte was behind the wheel of a speeding SUV, when it broadsided a car that was pulling out of a side street in Waimanalo.

The crushed car carried two cousins. Michelle Benevedes, 39, died instantly. Racquel 'Rocky' Akau-Aila, 38, was pinned.

"That man that lives there by that stone wall says she was screaming for her life, 'Help me. Help me. Somebody help me,'" Nadine Aila, victim's sister-in-law, said.

But Duarte ran away. Prosecutors say the then 17-year-old had been using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

"From the bottom of my heart, I ask for your forgiveness," the driver, who was convicted of two counts of negligent homicide and one count of failure to render aid, said. "I apologize to you and your family."

Citing his young age and lack of a prior criminal record, the judge sentences him to two years in jail, one year for each death.

"What it says to me as Rocky's sister, who has to live this nightmare day in and day out, is that she didn't matter," Storm-Conway said.

Duarte's family breaks down in tears as sheriffs prepare to take him away.

For Candace, her life sentence has already begun.

"Life's like a nightmare for me now," she said. "It's hard to go on day by day."

Duarte was also placed on five years probation, and must pay more than $7,000 in restitution.

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