Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Killer of former Maui cop
gets maximum jail sentence

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> The former wife of a retired Maui police officer killed last year by a drunken driver said she was happy the killer got the maximum prison term of 10 years.

Suzanne Funes said Bruce Mauvais deserved to get the maximum sentence.

Maui Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto handed down the maximum term yesterday for first-degree negligent homicide for the traffic death of Antonio Funes, despite appeals from Mauvais' family and friends for probation.

He called Mauvais "a loaded gun traveling down the highway."

Mauvais was drunk and speeding when his pickup truck struck Funes before 2:50 a.m. on June 14 while he directed traffic at a Honoapiilani Highway widening project near North Kihei Road, police said. Funes died three hours later at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Mauvais' attorney, William Harrison, asked for probation for his client, who is a single parent raising a 13-year-old girl.

Harrison described Mauvais as a "family man" who had made a serious mistake and called the traffic death an "aberration."

Mauvais, 57, a carpenter, said he was "deeply sorry" for the accident and asked for leniency.

"My daughter is my life. ... I beg you to think of her," he said.

But Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Keating said Mauvais had visited three hostess bars and spent some $2,800 in six hours.

Keating said Mauvais' blood-alcohol level was 0.184 -- more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 -- and that he had been driving 47 mph in a 25-mph zone.

Suzanne Funes said Mauvais' conduct doesn't show he's a family man and that the real family man was her husband, who had been working a double shift to save enough money for his children to have a vacation in Florida.

Mauvais initially was charged with manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The charge was reduced to first-degree negligent homicide, which carries a 10-year maximum sentence and a $25,000 fine. Mauvais pleaded no contest to the lesser charge on Jan. 27.

Funes was a 22-year veteran of the Maui Police Department and retired in 1997.

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