"I ran through the office saying: 'It's murder two and he's going to get life in prison with parole.' "
A Circuit Court jury yesterday rejected a defense plea for manslaughter and convicted Gary Draizen of second-degree murder in the 1994 death of Kathryn Jean "Kaye" Ramlow, 47.
Gary Oakes, Draizen's attorney, said he would appeal the conviction after Draizen's sentencing Sept. 25.
He had argued that Draizen, a 52-year-old man who had failed the Hawaii bar exam and had been rejected by Ramlow, acted under extreme emotional distress when he plunged a knife into her. He said Draizen had no memory of the other 27 stabs.
But Fox said she believed Draizen planned the murder, which included a horizontal slash through Ramlow's jugular vein and a vertical "carving" from Ramlow's lip down her neck across the slash.
Marsha Tantlinger, who also worked with Ramlow and had met Draizen, said she didn't think Draizen had a conscience.
"This was all about money and him having a meal ticket," she said, adding that the wealthy Ramlow allowed him to stay with her, loaned him money and treated him to dinners.
Tantlinger and Janna Dunning, Ramlow's cousin from Colorado, both said life in prison with parole that could begin in 20 to 25 years is not enough.
"I wished that Hawaii had a death penalty," Tantlinger said, adding that she previously had opposed it.
Ramlow worked as a legal secretary for Honolulu attorney David Schutter.
A Michigan native, she fell in love with Hawaii during a vacation, but remained in the Midwest to care for her ailing mother and grandmother. She moved to Oahu after their deaths.
"She was always up," Fox said. "She never had an unkind word about anybody."
Office colleagues put up a plaque in Ramlow's honor with her favorite expression: "Lucky we live Hawaii."
Oakes said Draizen, a divorced father, came to Hawaii in April 1994 for a fresh start after his oil and gas businesses had collapsed in Colorado.
Draizen met Ramlow at an Elks Club dance and moved in with her while he studied for the bar.
But by October, Ramlow felt trapped in the relationship and wanted out, said Deputy Prosecutor Lynn McGivern.
The stabbing occurred Oct. 4, 1994, after a tsunami warning forced the office to close early. Draizen picked up Ramlow after 7:45 a.m. and killed her less than an hour later in her home, she said.
Barth Baron, jury foreman, said the number of stab wounds didn't make the difference in the verdict. He said jurors concluded that Draizen's actions were focused and purposeful.