Isle man gets 5 years for store owner’s death
He agrees to the term in reducing a murder charge to assault
A Palolo man accused of causing the death of a Nuuanu liquor store owner pleaded guilty last week to a reduced charge of second-degree assault.
William Albinio, 39, was to go to trial last week for second-degree murder in the death of Edwin Medeiros, who sustained head injuries in the Sept. 19, 2004, confrontation.
According to police, Albinio had already drunk between 12 and 18 beers when he stopped by Nuuanu Liquor and Sundries at about 9 a.m. and tried to buy a six-pack of beer. Because he appeared intoxicated, Medeiros' wife, Sun Kum Medeiros, refused to sell him beer and insisted he leave.
Edwin Medeiros apparently pushed Albinio in an effort to get him out of the store, and Albinio retaliated by pushing the older man back.
Medeiros, 58, a Vietnam veteran whose left leg was amputated at the knee, fell back and hit his head, either on the counter or the floor. He died five days later at the hospital.
Deputy Prosecutor Darrel Wong said his office reviewed the case more carefully and allowed Albinio to plead to the reduced charge in exchange for agreeing to a five-year prison term.
"We don't believe the facts supported the murder charge," Wong said.
A jury could have acquitted Albinio or convicted him of second-degree murder or reckless manslaughter. To convict him of manslaughter, the jury would have had to find that he disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that if he pushed Medeiros, the man would die.
At his preliminary hearing, Albinio had testified that he did not realize Medeiros was an amputee because he was wearing slacks. He also told police he never intended to injure Medeiros or cause his death and was sorry for what happened.
He told police that Sun Kum Medeiros had been rude to him and that he was about to leave when her husband "got into his face."
Deputy public defender Debra Loy, who had argued at the preliminary hearing that the evidence did not support the murder charge, could not be reached for comment.
Had Albinio not agreed to the five-year term, the court could have put him on probation at sentencing, Wong said.
Albinio will serve his sentence at the same time as a five-year term he is expected to receive for an unrelated incident in which he threatened another person with a pipe.