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State seeks life in case of manslaughter


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POSTED: Saturday, May 30, 2009

Glenn Keohokapu Jr. is a step closer to life imprisonment for manslaughter.

; A jury deliberated less than two hours yesterday before finding that Keohokapu, 37, is a persistent offender who deserves the extended prison term, for the protection of the public.

The normal penalty for manslaughter is 20 years in prison.

The same jury found Keohokapu guilty last month of manslaughter rather than murder in the June 8 stabbing death of 19-year-old Steven Wilcox outside a Kaneohe karaoke bar.

It is up to Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall to decide whether Keohokapu gets 20 years or life with the possibility for parole when she sentences him next month.

The state will ask her to impose the life sentences, “;since there was a finding that he is eligible, that in fact he is a danger to the community,”; said Kristine Yoo, deputy city prosecutor.

Keohokapu has a history of violence including assaulting and biting a supermarket store manager after getting caught trying to steal some steaks, kicking a friend in the face after accusing him of fooling around with his wife, and punching, biting and head-butting his wife.

“;He is an individual who grew up in an abusive home, has had very few breaks in life, has learned the wrong lessons and isn't as bad as his history seems,”; said his lawyer, Ben Ignacio.

Keohokapu's father told the jury earlier this week that he feels responsible for his son's actions because he abused him when he was a boy.

He also said, “;There's something that cannot be taken out of him. It's imbedded in him.”;

This is only the second time a state jury has been asked to decide whether a defendant deserves a longer-than-normal prison sentence. Before a 2007 change to the state's sentencing laws, judges made that decision.

In the other case, a jury was unable to reach a decision on whether Patrick Lorenzo deserved life in prison without the possibility for parole for the fatal shooting of an off-duty deputy sheriff in a botched robbery of a Kapiolani Boulevard bar.