Man gets 20-year term in ex-Kauai surfer's death


POSTED: Tuesday, February 03, 2009

SAN DIEGO » A San Diego man who killed professional surfer Emery Kauanui with a single punch was sentenced yesterday to 20 years to life in prison.

Seth Cravens, 23, apologized to the victim's family and his own family in a brief statement before being sentenced.

“;I'm really sorry for your guys' loss,”; he said, turning in his chair to face Kauanui's mother and older brother.

Cravens was convicted of second-degree murder for killing Kauanui with a punch to the head during a scuffle on May 24, 2007, after an argument at a bar. His attorneys had argued that he acted in self-defense.

Raised on Kauai and nicknamed the “;Flying Hawaiian,”; the 24-year-old Kauanui was a fixture at San Diego's Windansea Beach. His death rocked the seaside community of La Jolla.

Cravens and four buddies who had attended La Jolla High School with him were initially charged with murder.

The other four pleaded guilty to lesser charges and were sentenced in September to between 90 and 249 days in jail. Among them was Hank Hendricks, a backup quarterback at the University of New Hampshire who was on summer break when the attack occurred.

Cravens was convicted Nov. 18 of murder and of other crimes dating to 2005, including assault, battery and making a criminal threat.

At the sentencing, Cindy Kauanui choked with emotion as she spoke of her son.

“;Emery loved everybody. He knew the true meaning of aloha,”; she said. “;His dream was to travel the world and learn other people's experience in life.”;