Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Murderer of prostitute
gets life with no parole

The attorney of the man
who decapitated a Moiliili
woman said that he is dying

The man who strangled a Waikiki prostitute to death and then decapitated and dismembered her was sentenced to life in prison without parole despite a plea by his attorney that he is dying.

Donald Marks, 41, was facing life with parole after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in May, but prosecutors argued yesterday that he is a persistent offender whose incarceration for an extended term is necessary to protect the public.

Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall acknowledged Marks' guilty plea to murdering Yoko Sanders and his health problems, but she agreed with prosecutors that he has a history of violence that has increased in severity and that he is a danger to the community.

He murdered Sanders six months after he was paroled in a 1994 rape of a 13-year-old girl, which shows he is "not an individual who's demonstrated that you're likely to be rehabilitated," Crandall said.

Defense attorney Myles Breiner acknowledged that what Marks did was "very terrible."

"The fact that a body was dismembered made it more heinous and disgusting, and the public is appropriately offended and he was sentenced that way," he said.

Earlier, Breiner had argued that an extended term was inappropriate, noting that Marks is suffering from liver disease and likely will not last another two years.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority has issued an average minimum term of 50 years for murder convictions, he said. "Mr. Marks will be long dead -- ill or not, he won't be in prison that long," Breiner said.

Marks offered an apology of sorts to Sanders' daughter and family. "I don't think there's anything appropriate I can really say to bring back Ms. Sanders or correct the injustice that happened," Marks said. "I just wish it didn't happen."

Deputy prosecutor Kevin Takata described Marks as a remorseless criminal whose actions on Nov. 1, 2002, were more than just a murder.

"This was a premeditated rape and slaughter fueled by lust," said Takata, who presented in court bloody photos of Sanders' dismembered and decapitated body to bolster his request for the extended term.

Sanders' boyfriend, Kevin Carter, made the grisly discovery when he went to the Waikiki apartment Sanders used as a "trick pad" after she failed to return to her Moiliili home.

Inside the "trick pad" wrapped in a bedspread was Sanders' torso. In a plastic trash bag nearby were her head and forearms, a meat knife, a wine bottle that had been wrapped with duct tape and half of a green towel, latex gloves with blood on them and a can of air freshener.

Takata said a print found on the can matched Marks, and the other half of the green towel was later found in his hamper at his apartment. DNA on the glove was traced to Marks. DNA found on the T-shirt Marks was seen wearing on the security video matched that of Sanders. Also, results of DNA swabs taken from Sanders showed semen that belonged to Marks.

Takata said Marks raped Sanders because he wanted sex but was unemployed and could not afford her $200 fee. Based on the autopsy and evidence, Takata said Marks struck Sanders on the top of her head with the taped wine bottle and strangled her from the back.

Marks killed Sanders and decapitated and dismembered her not only to prevent her from identifying him, but also to hinder police from identifying her by her face or her prints, Takata said.



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