Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Wednesday, June 14, 2000



By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Merry Lynn Balatico, center, who lost her husband, Jason, spoke
with reporters after the verdict. With her are Audry Lee, left,
Melvin Lee's sister, and Lorna Kanehira, widow of Ford.

Facing a future
cheated of their
loved ones

Uyesugi's father apologizes to families

By Crystal Kua


A box of tissue was passed from hand to hand in the front rows of the court gallery where relatives of the seven slain Xerox employees sat day in and day out through Byran Uyesugi's trial.

Xerox Trial As Judge Marie Milks polled jurors on the guilty verdict, some family members wiped away tears as they buried their faces and emotions in cupped palms.

But their tears apparently were not for the past, but more for a future of living life without their loved ones.

"I was trying to figure out what I'd tell my kids," said Merry Lynn Balatico, whose husband, Jason, was one of the victims.

"And being that the verdict came the way it did, it's a lot easier on me to say that there are a lot of people out there that feel the same way and know what we feel."

Reid Kawamae said he and his father, Ron, were mending a frayed relationship just before his father's death and that relationship will never have the chance to fully heal.

"People tell me maybe you get closure out of this, but I don't know what that means," Kawamae said.

By Ronen Zilberman, Associated Press
Lorna Kanehira wipes away tears in the courtroom as jurors declare
Byran Uyesugi guilty on all counts. Behind her are Reid and
Debbie Kawamae; he lost his father, Ron Kawamae.

The relatives of the slain employees who were in the courtroom when the verdict was read included John Sakamoto's wife, Susan; Melvin Lee's sister, Audry; Ron Kataoka's wife, Lynn; and Ford Kanehira's wife, Lorna.

Many of the relatives took the witness stand during the trial to remind jurors that the slain were husbands, fathers and friends:

There was Jason Balatico, the practical joker.

Ron Kawamae, the karaoke singer.

John Sakamomto, the fisherman.

Melvin Lee, the avid golfer.

Ford Kanehira, a member of the "lunch bunch."

Peter Mark, who loved the outdoors.

Ron Kataoka, who hugged and kissed his wife goodbye before he left for work that Nov. 2.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Betsy Sakata, aunt of Ann Lee who is the widow of Melvin Lee,
wipes a tear away as she sits in the courtroom yesterday.

Yesterday, their survivors looked ahead and talked about how things won't ever be the same.

Lorna Kanehira said that whatever happens to Uyesugi, it won't bring back her husband, whom she described as loving and attentive.

"For the rest of my life, I will live with the loss that this tragedy has created," Kanehira said.

"Our 6-year-old son has been cheated out of all the many things that his dad was looking forward to teaching him."

Kawamae said he also feels cheated.

"Imagine all the little kids who lost their dads," Kawamae said.

Kawamae and Lorna Kanehira said they hope Uyesugi never realizes freedom.

"Better if he go jail, he goin' suffer more," Kawamae said.

Merry Lynn Balatico also said explanations won't be easy, especially for her son and daughter, who will continue to live with repercussions of what happened to their father each day.

"It's hard to tell that to a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old. That was the most hardest thing of all just to ... confront it and why things happen the way they did," she said.

"A lot of times it's not what we tell them.

"A lot of times it's what they see when they just look at me and look at the people around us."

Star-Bulletin file photo
Hiroyuki Uyesugi, father of Byran, in a 1999 photo.

Uyesugi’s father
apologizes to families

Star-Bulletin staff


Hiroyuki Uyesugi issued a statement through his attorney, Lester K.M. Leu, after his son was convicted yesterday of murdering seven Xerox co-workers.

The statement, addressed to the wives of Jason Balatico, Ford Kanehira, Ron Kataoka, Melvin Lee, Peter Mark and John Sakamoto, and to Reid Kawamae, son of Ron Kawamae, reads:

"Please accept my deepest apologies for this tragedy. I know that no words can bring back your loved ones. Please accept my prayers for the anger, grief and sorrow this has caused you and your families.

"I am sorry."

Opening Arguments from May 15, 2000
Xerox killings - Nov. 2, 1999

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin