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Keohokapu gets life for killing


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Glenn Keohokapu Jr. is the first person in Hawaii to be sentenced to a longer-than-normal prison term for his crime because a jury found him a danger to the community.

Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall sentenced Keohokapu, 36, to life in prison yesterday with the possibility of parole for manslaughter. She could have sentenced him to the maximum of 20 years.

Keohokapu fatally stabbed 19-year-old Steven Wilcox on June 8 last year outside a Kaneohe karaoke bar. He claims he stabbed Wilcox in self-defense.

A state jury found him guilty of manslaughter instead of murder. The jury also found him to be a persistent offender who deserves an extended sentence for the protection of the community under procedures spelled out in a recent change to state sentencing laws. Previously, judges determined whether defendants deserve longer-than-normal prison terms.

Keohokapu has prior felony convictions for robbery, burglary and drug promotion. He also has convictions for abusing his wife and for violating a restraining order she filed against him.

The complaining witnesses in the burglary, robbery and abuse all suffered injuries inflicted by Keohokapu.

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He also has juvenile convictions for auto theft and burglary.

Keohokapu has a history of gaining release on parole and probation only to re-offend and go back to prison, despite his participation in programs to learn life skills, manage his anger and kick his drug habit.

“;He's had repeated chances to clean up his act, understand that his actions are going to hurt people and that he has a drug problem,”; said Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Yoo. “;Enough is enough.”;

Keohokapu doesn't deny his record.

“;My past has painted me as an ugly person,”; he said.

He was tearful when he faced Wilcox's family members and apologized to them.

Wilcox's mother, Gwendolyn Kailihiwa, said she has forgiven Keohokapu but told Crandall, “;I cannot forget nor can I get over what he has done.”;

After the hearing, Kailihiwa embraced Keohokapu's wife and parents.

The only other jury asked to determine a defendant's eligibility for an extended sentence ended its deliberation in a deadlock.