Sunday, February 20, 2005

Burglar gets life
plus 120 years

A burglar convicted of shooting a Punchbowl homeowner when he surprised him in the man's home will likely not get out of prison alive.


Miti Maugaotega: Shot a Punchbowl homeowner during a burglary

The Hawaii Paroling Authority handed down one of the longest minimum terms ever last week in ordering Miti Maugaotega to serve a life term without parole plus 120 years in prison.

Maugaotega, 19, was convicted in March for shooting Eric Kawamoto in June 2003 and for a series of other burglaries, one of which involved the sexual assault and pistol-whipping of a 55-year-old woman.

Last May, Circuit Judge Patrick Border ordered Maugaotega to serve one life term without parole for the attempted murder and nine life terms with parole to be served one after the other.

In ordering the consecutive terms, Border found that the crimes Maugaotega was convicted of ran the gamut of criminal law, from attempted murder, to property crime, sex assault, firearms and drug offenses.

Border said Maugaotega demonstrated a "total disregard for the rights of others and a poor attitude for the law" and that his criminal conduct would resume almost immediately if he was released any time soon.

Deputy Public Defender Walter Rodby, who had not yet been told of the board's decision, said he is confident they will prevail on appeal.

The last time he was able to speak to Maugaotega, who is in the high-security unit at Halawa, he was trying to educate himself and read more, Rodby said.

At trial, doctors testified Kawamoto would have died had he not received medical attention as quickly as he did. The bullet, fired at point-blank range, tore through Kawamoto's chest, barely missing his heart and lodged in his back. He suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome because of what he went through.

The woman who was raped testified at Maugaotega's sentencing saying she can no longer sleep through the night since he broke into her home, robbed, sexually assaulted her and pistol-whipped her after she tried to escape.

Maugaotega, who admitted to using crystal methamphetamine, testified he broke into the Kawamoto home looking for money so he could check into a hotel room. He had been living previously with his girlfriend but on the morning of the shooting, they had argued. He said he didn't intend to shoot Kawamoto, but was forced to so he could escape.

Convicted multiple murderer Byran Uyesugi received Hawaii's longest minimum term when the parole board ordered him to serve 235 years in prison for fatally gunning down seven coworkers at Xerox offices in November 1999.

Although he received a life term without parole, under state law, Maugaotega can ask the governor to commute his sentence to life with parole after he serves 20 years. The parole board has scheduled an application for his commutation for August 2023.

Hawaii Paroling Authority

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