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Father faces 20 years for daughter's injuries


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POSTED: Saturday, June 27, 2009

A state jury found a man guilty of attempted manslaughter yesterday for throwing around his 7-month-old daughter inside a van, causing permanent brain damage.

Pulumataala Eli, 34, was charged with attempted second-degree murder. He had pleaded guilty to the charge last August but withdrew his plea when he was supposed to be sentenced in November.

Eli doesn't deny he hurt his daughter but he said he did not intend to kill her.

The penalty for attempted second-degree murder is life in prison with the possibility for parole. The penalty for attempted manslaughter is 20 years.

However, the state is seeking an extended prison term of life with the possibility for parole because of the young age of the victim.

The jury will return in November to determine whether Eli deserves an extended prison sentence.

If he gets the life sentence, he will have to spend at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole because he has three prior felony convictions.

Eli pleaded guilty in 2004 to first-degree assault and two counts of carrying a firearm without a permit. He was on parole for those convictions when he injured his daughter.

He also has convictions for misdemeanor abuse of a family or household member in 2000 and 2003.

Sarah Fuller, the girl's mother and Eli's girlfriend, testified that Eli threw the girl to the third row seat of the van from the second row, threw her down hard on the second row seat and threw the child seat on top of her on Oct. 24, 2007 at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Fuller said she and Eli were arguing over her intention to leave him and to call off their wedding. She said Eli blamed the baby for Fuller's change of heart.

Hospital staff at Kapiolani Medical Center noted that the baby's left eye was almost detached and she suffered massive brain injury, bleeding behind both eyes and a broken ankle.