Man who shot police gets chance at parole
A 28-year-old man apologized publicly yesterday for a second time for shooting at two police officers at Makapuu Point more than eight years ago, hitting one of them in the abdomen.
This time was different, however, because Peter Moses took responsibility and had pleaded guilty in December to attempted second-degree murder for shooting officer Earl Haskell during a scuffle over the officer's gun and firing a shot at officer John Veneri. He also pointed the gun at officer Laura Chong, but it jammed.
Circuit Judge Steven Alm resentenced Moses yesterday to a life term with the possibility of parole in the September 1998 shooting. He initially was serving a life term without parole, Hawaii's harshest sentence, but the case went up on appeal twice before being sent back to Circuit Court for a retrial.
Glancing at his mother sitting in the back row and other family members directly behind him, Moses directed his remarks to them and to the officers who were not present, saying, "I wish none of this ever happened.
"I apologize to them and to my family -- I love you guys. ... I'm sorry," he said, his voice cracking with emotion.
Alm acknowledged Moses' expressions of remorse, saying his willingness to do so was an indication there was hope for him. He agreed with prosecutors that he should be credited for not putting the officers through a second trial.
Moses had cocaine in his system when he broke into a rental car at the popular hiking and sightseeing spot in East Honolulu on Sept. 11, 1998.
Haskell, Veneri and Chong were attempting to arrest Moses when he managed to grab Haskell's gun and fired a shot into his gut. He then pointed the gun at Haskell's head, but Veneri intervened.
Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader said the officers, only one of whom remains with the Honolulu Police Department, did not wish to attend the sentencing or submit letters to the court. "It's just too painful. They want to move on. ... They simply want to forget about it," he said.
The officers were relieved when an agreement was reached, because it meant they did not have to come back to testify a second time and relive the horrific events all over again, Trader said.
Under a plea agreement, Moses agreed to a five-year mandatory minimum for using a semiautomatic handgun, and prosecutors agreed not to seek an enhanced sentence.
Defense attorney Stuart Fujioka said Moses sustained 17 gunshot wounds in a shootout with Veneri while attempting to flee. He continues to experience pain from the bullets that could not be surgically removed, Fujioka said.
His pain also comes from not being able to be a father to twin boys who were born while he was in prison, Fujioka said.
The shooting occurred just three months after Moses was granted a deferral of his guilty plea to breaking into a car in the same area.
He was released from prison just three weeks prior to the shooting after serving time for violating a temporary restraining order.