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Thursday, November 13, 2003



Kidnapping conspiracy
brings a 20-year term


A 24-year-old man described by prosecutors as a major crystal methamphetamine dealer was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison for his role in a January 2002 murder.

Delaneo Puha was convicted in April of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, second-degree attempted assault and hindering prosecution in the disappearance and fatal beating of 37-year-old Tracey Tominaga.

Tominaga was lured to a remote Makakilo property by drug dealer Jason Perry, a high school classmate of Puha, in January 2002 on the pretense of obtaining "ice," but was beaten by a group of men that included Puha. Only Perry was charged and eventually convicted of Tominaga's murder.

At Puha's trial the defense contended Puha went with Perry to Makakilo only to pressure Tominaga into giving up the name of a man who had robbed Perry of $300 worth of ice and cash at Tominaga's McCully apartment a few days earlier.

Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said Perry would not have killed Tominaga without the approval of Puha, whose ice was taken in the robbery.

Perry testified at his trial that he and associate Ryan Onuma were selling six to 10 ounces of ice a week for Puha, making $6,000 to $10,000 and returning a good chunk of the proceeds to Puha.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn granted the state's request that Puha receive an extended sentence to 20 years from 10 years for conspiracy as a multiple offender. She also extended the five-year sentence on the assault and hindering prosecution to 10 years, all to be served concurrently.

Defense attorney Reginald Minn argued Puha's sentence should be proportionate to the sentences given to other defendants in the murder, including Ryan Onuma, who was also implicated in another murder several days later and is expected to receive no more than 10 years in prison, based on a plea agreement.

Betty Tominaga, Tracey's mother, said: "She suffered a brutal beating and begged forgiveness, but that didn't deter any of you. To add insult to injury, you had to sexually molest her when she was bound with tape, handcuffed and gagged."

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