Man agrees to 30 years for killing girlfriend
A 40-year-old former Kalihi resident has admitted to fatally stabbing his girlfriend multiple times because he had been drinking and was angry from an argument.
Ronante G. Aquino pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in the death of Zenaida Dumaslan, 39. Under a plea agreement, the state and Aquino have agreed to ask the Hawaii Paroling Authority that he serve no less than 30 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.
Deputy public defender Darcia Forester said Aquino agreed to take responsibility because he did not want to put the Dumaslan family through any more pain. "He's truly remorseful," Forester said.
Aquino showed up at the Pearl City Police Station on July 22, 2006, and confessed to the killing. He directed police to Dumaslan's Hooli Street apartment, where her body was found in a pool of blood in the kitchen.
The couple had been at a family party the night before without incident. But when they returned to her apartment later that evening, they began arguing.
"Alcohol is the issue here, mixed with anger from an argument," Forester said.
Dumaslan left behind a 5-year-old son who was in the apartment at the time, along with her father, who suffers from dementia.
It wasn't clear whether the child witnessed the killing. However, the boy was spared the necessity of testifying as a witness if the case had gone to trial, said Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader.
"We know he was in the house, and it's fairly likely he saw some things no 5-year-old should see," Trader said.
He said the agreement resolves what could have been a very difficult case, and ensures that Aquino will be locked up for at least the next 30 years.
Dumaslan's family, who is caring for her son, worked closely on the agreement.
"The victim's family appreciated the fact that he stepped up and took responsibility for what he had done, though that does not in any way, shape or form make up for their loss. It was the right thing to do -- something that doesn't happen nearly enough," Trader said.
Aquino is scheduled to be sentenced by Circuit Judge Steven Alm on April 23.