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Golf course killer gets life sentence


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POSTED: Tuesday, December 01, 2009

;[Preview]  Shooter Sentenced In Pali Golf Course Shooting
 

Motta, convicted of murder five years ago, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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A man convicted in the brazen daytime shootings at Pali Golf Course nearly six years ago did not make a statement before a federal judge sentenced him to life in prison, because his attorney says he is appealing the verdict.

The judge imposed the mandatory life prison term for murder for Ethan Motta yesterday in connection with the shootings, which occurred on Jan. 7, 2004. Motta, 40, will not have the opportunity for parole because there is no parole in the federal prison system.

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A jury found Motta and his cousin Rodney Joseph Jr. guilty of murder in the shooting deaths of Lepo Taliese and Romelius Corpuz Jr. and the attempted murder of Tinoimalu Sao, who survived a gunshot to his face.

The jury also found Motta and Joseph guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and operating an illegal gambling business.

The government said Motta and Joseph committed the murders to regain control of security for illegal gambling operations on Oahu.

Joseph was sentenced in July.

A third man, Kevin A. Gonsalves, pleaded guilty to the murders before trial in a deal with the government and is serving a 27 1/2 -year prison sentence.

Motta's lawyer Richard Pafundi said one of the points in Motta's appeal will be jurisdiction.

The case was being prosecuted in state court until a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging the murders and racketeering affected interstate commerce.