Responsible life eases sentence for sex offender
Vernon Reiger Sr. had not fully complied with the registration statute
Vernon Reiger Sr. served nearly 20 years in prison for the 1980 rape and shooting of a McCully woman.
In June 1999, Reiger returned to Hawaii to his wife and his old Kaimuki address to live out the rest of his life in peace, his attorney said.
Or so he thought.
Beset with medical and hearing problems, he failed to comply fully with sex offender registration requirements. So the state went after him.
Circuit Judge Richard Pollack found yesterday that Reiger, 72, did not intentionally conceal his identification or whereabouts.
He sentenced Reiger to five years' probation and stayed a one-year jail term as long as Reiger complies with the sex offender registration law. He also warned Reiger of the consequences should he fail to fully comply.
Deputy Attorney General Susan Won had asked that Reiger be sentenced to five years in prison for deliberately avoiding registering.
But Pollack said Reiger has demonstrated a commitment to live a law-abiding life in the eight years since he left prison. He lives with his wife of 51 years at the same 2nd Avenue home he moved into in 1965, and has family responsibilities and a strong support system.
Reiger, who is illiterate and had partially complied when he was released from prison, is now in full compliance, said Deputy Public Defender Lee Hayakawa. The state knew where he was all along, he added.
"This isn't a case of Mr. Reiger purposefully avoiding service or sex offender registration requirements," he said.
Reiger's treating physician had noted that incarceration would cause undue stress on his weak heart. Reiger's vision and hearing are also failing him, Hayakawa said.