Saturday, April 26, 2003

Accused killer seeks
shorter prison term

William Kotis asks to serve no
more than 15 years before parole

A man accused of shooting his estranged wife multiple times to death with a shotgun more than 10 years ago because she was leaving him for good is asking that he spend no more than 15 years in prison.

That would mean that William Kotis, 40, who has already served nearly 11 years in prison and at Hawaii State Hospital, would have to serve an additional four years before seeking parole for the murder of Lynn Kotis, 29, in 1992.

Kotis, in protective custody at Halawa Correctional Facility because he has been assaulted, appeared to argue his case before the Hawaii Paroling Authority yesterday at Halawa prison. The board will determine how much longer he must serve before he can seek parole.

The three-member board is expected to issue its decision in a few weeks.

The state has asked that Kotis "never be paroled" because he is very dangerous and a psychopath -- "not only a psychopath, but top of the scale," Senior Deputy Prosecutor Maurice Arrisgado said yesterday.

He said Kotis tried to get his wife to return to him in the weeks and months before and told others he would kill her if she did not.

With a 12-gauge shotgun he purchased one week earlier, Kotis waited in the parking lot of her Waikiki apartment on Sept. 7, 1992, until she returned home with her boyfriend, Arrisgado said.

After trying unsuccessfully to pull her into his rental car and confronting her boyfriend with a knife, Kotis pulled out the shotgun and fired shots at the fleeing couple, Arrisgado said.

The boyfriend managed to get over a wall, but Lynn Kotis could not. As she begged for her life, Kotis shot her point-blank, emptying the shotgun. "No mercy at all," Arrisgado said.

Lynn Kotis' stepfather, Robert Ching, who flew in from the mainland, told Kotis that he has lost his family because of him. "I want you to suffer for the rest of your life," Ching said.

Ching said his wife, son, daughter and grandson are no longer together and are scattered on the mainland. Family members also do not like returning to Hawaii because of the negative memories, he said. The Kotises' only child, a boy who is now dysfunctional, refused to come, Ching said.

Defense attorney Dwight Lum said the shooting was in reaction to Kotis' belief that he was losing the one thing that meant anything and everything to him in his entire life.

When his wife left, "this was his entire support system leaving him," Lum said.

Kotis is not a dangerous individual and is not likely to kill again, Lum argued.

In often rambling testimony, Kotis told the board he is guilty of killing his wife. He also said he "killed" his father-in-law and his now 17-year-old son, "by messing up their lives."

Kotis finally went to trial last year. He was found unfit to stand trial at least five times until last year when doctors concluded he was malingering.

He was convicted of second-degree murder -- which is punishable by a life term without parole -- kidnapping and terroristic threatening.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins, who rejected Kotis' defense that he was under an extreme emotional and mental disturbance when he shot his wife, ordered that he spend at least 15 years in prison for using a firearm.


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