Man gets life term for attacks and threats
William Alston, 39, terrorized four victims in a Chinatown unit for 14 hours in 2005
A man convicted of terrorizing four people at a Chinatown apartment for 14 hours in May 2005 -- including stabbing an elderly man and setting him afire -- was sentenced Wednesday to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
William Alston, 39, declined to make a statement at his sentencing. He was convicted in September of seven counts, including second-degree attempted murder, first-degree terroristic threatening and kidnapping.
Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario was required to sentence Alston to the maximum term under the law for the attempted murder. But he rejected city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle's request to extend it to life without parole, saying it will be up to the Hawaii Paroling Authority to decide whether Alston should serve a longer term.
Carlisle argued that a life term with the possibility of parole was inadequate to keep the community safe.
He detailed Alston's criminal history, arguing that it was replete with escalating violence, from a second-degree theft and drug offenses in 1988, to terroristic threatening and third-degree assault in 1997, up to the current offenses.
Despite being placed on probation, Alston ultimately served the maximum terms on all his past convictions.
But once he completed his terms and was released into the community, he was back re-offending and has not done anything to curb his violence and drug abuse, Carlisle said.
"He's gone through the parole system over and over again and, every time, committed further violence and escalating violence," he said.
In the recent case, a 65-year-old witness testified at trial that Alston attacked him with knives, doused him with isopropyl alcohol and set him afire after he objected to Alston and a female arguing, drinking and doing drugs at his Chinatown apartment.
Because of the victim's age, Alston was ordered to serve a minimum of 15 years for the attempted murder.
At trial the defense had characterized the environment at the apartment as resembling Grand Central Station with lots of people going in and out, drinking and smoking cocaine.
Defense attorney Nelson Goo argued that the convictions cited by the prosecutor go back more than 10 years to when Alston was 17 and that he has "maxed out" and served the maximum time on all his sentences.
"He's paid his dues in prison," said Goo.
Alston was also ordered to serve 20 years for kidnapping, 10 years for terroristic threatening and five years for abusing a family member -- all terms to be served concurrently. One of Alston's four victims was his estranged wife.
Del Rosario also ordered Alston to serve minimum sentences ranging from one year and eight months to six years and eight months for being a repeat offender.