Lawsuit filed in attack that killed woman's son and unborn child


POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Big Island lawsuit asks for unspecified punitive damages against a Puna man who allegedly used a combat knife to attack his pregnant wife and kill his teenage son.


In a suit filed June 10 in Circuit Court, Cheryl-Lyn Vesperas said she was stabbed multiple times in the abdomen by her estranged husband, Tyrone Vesperas, at their Ainaloa subdivision home.

As a result of the June 2007 attack, her unborn child, which she named Matthew Kaimana Erece-Saniatan, did not survive. According to the complaint, she was three weeks away from her due date when the stabbing occurred.

Vesperas also fatally stabbed their 14-year-old son, Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan, in his neck when he tried to restrain his father, the suit says. The boy died after he described the attack in a call to 911.

The couple was separated at the time of the attack. Cheryl-Lyn Vesperas filed for a divorce on Jan. 15.

Tyrone Vesperas was charged with second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon. He is being held at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo pending a criminal trial scheduled to begin March 22.

“;What he did was outrageous and unimaginable,”; said attorney Lionel M. Riley, who is representing Cheryl-Lyn Vesperas.

She suffered permanent disfigurement, shock, scarring and great pain to her body and mind as a result of the stabbing, he said.

She continues to suffer from emotional distress from the loss of Tyran and her unborn child, he said.

“;It's very, very raw,”; said Riley. “;She will probably never recover.”;

She is undergoing psychological counseling and receives support from friends and her 18-year-old daughter.

“;She is doing the best she can right now, and she's trying to take it one day at a time,”; said Riley.

Vesperas, a staff sergeant with the Hawaii Army National Guard, served with the 29th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq from February 2005 to January 2006.