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Saturday, April 1, 2000

Woman set afire
sees her children
before she dies



The Kauai woman allegedly set on fire by her husband has died from her injuries after saying goodbye to her children.

Mui Lan Esposo-Aguiar, 39, who had been heavily sedated in critical condition since March 12, died from multiple organ failure due to infection at 9:11 a.m. yesterday at Straub Hospital.

Dr. Randolph Wong called her family Thursday night when her condition worsened, said Ann Nishida, a Straub spokeswoman.

"She wasn't able to talk because she was on a ventilator, but she communicated with her feet. She asked to see one of her sons," Nishida said.

Esposo-Aguiar had five children and a legal ward.

She also had four sisters and two brothers, one of whom flew in from the mainland to see her, Nishida said.

Three of the sisters said they were taking her body to Kauai where they will have her memorial service.

Gregory Aguiar is accused of splashing a flammable liquid, possibly gasoline, on his wife of nine years and setting her aflame with a lighter.

He is being held without bail on charges of attempted murder in the second degree and reckless endangering.

The attempted murder charge will be changed to second-degree murder, said Kauai Police Lt. Bill Ching.

Both second-degree murder and attempted murder in the second degree are punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole.

District Judge Joseph Kobayashi deferred a preliminary hearing for Aguiar on March 16, until psychological studies are done, which could take a month or more.

Defense attorney Peter Kea had asked that Aguiar be interviewed by a panel of mental health professionals to determine whether he is mentally fit to stand trial.

Ching said Aguiar likely will be reindicted, but the examinations will continue.

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