Man gets life term in street-fight shooting


POSTED: Friday, June 26, 2009

A state judge sentenced Dustin Jimenez to the mandatory life in prison with the possibility of parole yesterday for shooting another man to death two years ago.

;[Preview]    Jimenez Sentencing

Dustin Jimenez is sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of Dillon Ching.

Watch ]


A jury found Jimenez, 23, guilty of second-degree murder last year in the May 19, 2007, shooting death of 30-year-old Dillon Ching during a street brawl near Ching's Sunset Beach home.

Jimenez wanted a new trial after presenting a new witness.

Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Tashima wanted the judge to order Jimenez to serve 45 years in prison before starting his life term for other crimes associated with the killing, including firearm charges, terroristic threatening and reckless endangering.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins rejected both requests.

The witness said he was standing next to Jimenez during the shooting, but that contradicted Jimenez's testimony that he never saw the witness that night.

And Perkins said he didn't feel Tashima's request was justified, based on Jimenez's age, his light criminal history and the circumstances of the shooting.

“;The bottom line for the court is that the life with the possibility of parole is a sentence that could actually result in life without any parole at all should the Hawaii Paroling Authority feel that it's appropriate,”; he said.

Jimenez will have to serve at least 15 years of his life sentence before he is eligible for parole because he committed the murder with a firearm. He will also have to serve a separate five-year prison term for a 2004 auto theft case for which he had previously pleaded guilty.

Perkins said he will leave it up to the parole board to decide which of the two prison terms Jimenez must serve first.

Jimenez apologized in court to Ching's family and asked forgiveness.

“;I'm sorry. I nevah mean for this for happen,”; he said.

His lawyer, Chester Kanai, said Jimenez should not have to shoulder all of the blame for what happened two years ago because of the circumstances.

Witnesses testified at trial that as many as 40 people were fighting in the middle of Kamehameha Highway, throwing beer bottles at each other and swinging baseball bats when Ching, his wife and their then-2-year-old son arrived home from a party.

Ching's wife said she told her husband to find out what was going on and to help his two brothers, who were in the middle of the melee.

Jimenez said he fired at least two shots from a handgun into the air to try to stop the fighting. Witnesses said he then lowered the gun and fired at Ching.