Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Kiana Gaspar, left, and her mom, Renee, displayed emotion yesterday as the verdict was read in the murder trial of Shane Mark for the shooting of police officer Glen Gaspar. Kiana Gaspar is one of the late officer's two daughters.

Jury convicts
cop killer

Shane Mark faces life
in prison for the shooting
death of officer Glen Gaspar

A Circuit Court jury convicted Shane Mark yesterday of the lesser offense of second-degree murder for killing police officer Glen Gaspar at the Kapolei Baskin-Robbins in March.

The verdict, which stunned Gaspar family members hoping for a first-degree murder conviction, was still a rejection of Mark's claim that he did not know Gaspar was a police officer and that he was acting in self-defense.

Second-degree murder carries a life term with the possibility of parole, but prosecutors hope for a tougher sentence for Mark, who was also convicted of two other offenses.

First-degree murder would have meant life without the possibility of parole.

The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for about 24 hours since Wednesday before notifying the court yesterday afternoon that it had reached a partial verdict.

Mark, 29, was accused of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Gaspar, a 12-year police veteran; attempted first-degree murder for pointing his gun at Gaspar's partner, officer Calvin Sung; and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Shane Mark listened yesterday as a jury convicted him of murder in the second degree.

The jury could not reach a verdict in the charge of attempted murder of Sung.

Gaspar, 40, was one of six members of a police plainclothes unit that converged on the Baskin-Robbins March 4 after learning Mark would be there meeting with his former girlfriend and their 10-year-old daughter. Gaspar was shot three times during a scuffle with Mark.

Mark was also on trial for two counts each of second-degree attempted murder and firearms charges for shooting at two men in a Moanalua church parking lot on Feb. 1, hitting one of them. The jury convicted Mark of the lesser charge of second-degree attempted assault and one firearm charge.

When the court clerk announced the guilty verdict for second-degree murder, Mark showed no reaction but Gaspar's older brother, Greig, looked skyward and choked back a sob as tears rolled down his face. Renee Gaspar, the mother of Glen Gaspar's two daughters, Taysia-Jamie and Kiana-Leigh, bowed her head and stifled a sob as she hugged her daughters close. Gaspar's parents, Evangeline and Gilbert Sr., also wiped away tears.

Police Chief Lee Donohue issued a statement that said: "While we are glad that Shane Mark was convicted of murder, we are disappointed that the jury did not find him guilty of murder in the first degree. We believe that Mark knew he was firing at police officers when he shot Glen Gaspar and tried to shoot Calvin Sung. It is shocking and disturbing to know that such an individual may one day be able to return to the community."

After the verdict, Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter tried to reassure family members who were clearly disturbed that Mark had not been convicted of the more serious charge of first-degree murder, which involves the intentional or knowing killing of a police officer, judge or witness.

"I think the jury compromised on the murder one," Van Marter told them. "The jury didn't buy that it was self-defense. But I think the hang-up for the jury was whether Glen and Calvin did enough to identify themselves (as police officers)."

Renee Gaspar hugged daughter Taysia yesterday after the jury found Shane Mark guilty of second-degree murder for killing police officer Glen Gaspar, Taysia's father.

At trial, Mark testified he never heard the officers identify themselves and believed they intended to kill him in retaliation for the Feb. 1 shooting. The prosecution contends the officers identified themselves repeatedly before Mark fired.

Outside the courtroom, Van Marter said prosecutors are pleased that the jury found Mark "intentionally and knowingly shot and killed Glen Gaspar" and that he used deadly force in doing so.

"We have many sentencing options that are available to us, and we will take advantage of every opportunity under the law to make sure the defendant spends the rest of his life in prison," Van Marter said.

Greig Gaspar, who spoke on behalf of the family, said while they are pleased with the verdicts, his brother's absence is strongly felt.

"The sad truth is, no matter how elated my family is feeling today about the verdict and that Shane Mark will have to pay the price for his actions, my brother, officer Glen Gaspar, is still dead and will never be celebrating any holiday or special event with our family ever again," he said.

Deputy Public Defender Debra Loy called the case a "tragedy for everybody."

The defense is relieved the jury accepted some of their arguments but unhappy that the entire case is not resolved, she said. Mark will remain in custody without bail while awaiting sentencing on Feb. 24.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn declared a mistrial on the unresolved counts and reset them for trial next year.

The crux of the defense's case was Mark's state of mind before the fatal shooting. During closing arguments, Loy said Mark was in such a state of fear after hearing people were after him for the Feb. 1 shooting that he had armed himself with a loaded revolver and even slept with it. When Gaspar and Sung grabbed him, he was fighting for his life, Loy said.

"Shane shot a man he thought was honestly going to hurt him, that was going to kill him, beat him up, rob him," she argued.

Loy said police botched the arrest because of "bad police work" and failure to follow their own procedures, including not wearing bulletproof vests.

Greig Gaspar said he was appalled at Loy's comments. "My brother never just jumped into a bad plan. He was very careful when he worked to keep safe."

Officers involved in Mark's arrest testified that they and Gaspar either displayed their badges and ID clipped to their belts, identified themselves as police or declared their intent to arrest him before Mark pulled out his gun and fired the shots.

Mark's former girlfriend, Melissa Sennett, who had tipped off police that he would be meeting his daughter at

Kapolei Shopping Center, testified she overheard the men say, "Shane Mark, you need to come with us, you're under arrest."

Van Marter had argued that Mark's use of deadly force was not justified in light of the officers' actions. Mark was not being threatened with deadly force when the officers grabbed him and he overreacted.

Mark showed self-control when he admitted on the stand that he pointed the gun away from his daughter to avoid hitting her and pointed it at Gaspar's torso because it was a large target, Van Marter said.

Van Marter said he expects to ask the court at Mark's sentencing to extend the maximum sentences for the two firearm convictions to life terms with parole from 20 years -- for a total of three life terms with the possibility of parole.

The prosecution can ask the court to order Mark to serve those life terms consecutively, based on Mark's previous criminal history and dangerousness.

Ahn granted a similar request in another murder case, when she sentenced Jason Perry to consecutive life terms for killing two people nearly a year ago.

If the court grants the prosecution's request, the Hawaii Paroling Authority will set three minimum terms for each count and can order that they be served consecutively, Van Marter said.

If given the total 150-year minimum under paroling authority guidelines, Mark would have to serve at least 50 years before he can ask for parole, Van Marter said.

"If it was murder one, he could be asked to be paroled after 20 years," he said.

Mark is already facing two 10-year terms and two five-year terms after earlier pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and drug charges.

Jury foreman Scott Moore declined to discuss the jury's deliberations as he left the courthouse.

"I don't want to comment on the internal workings of the jury. The jury worked very hard and found its verdicts based on the evidence presented," he said.

Star-Bulletin reporters Sally Apgar and Rod Antone contributed to this report.


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