Thursday, July 12, 2001

Ranasha Young, whose father was murdered, was
in court yesterday for the trial.

Daughter pities the
murderer of her father

She hopes Wallace "Dido"
Rodrigues may find forgiveness
for his 4 slayings

By Debra Barayuga

Ranasha Young has a prayer left for Wallace "Dido" Rodrigues.

Despite the pain she has lived with over the loss of her father 13 years ago, she still had words of hope for his murderer -- the man she once referred to as "uncle."

"Find peace and love so that you can teach it to your children before you leave this life. Do not leave this life without their forgiveness, God's forgiveness and forgiveness from yourself. ... Do this for your children," she told Rodrigues shortly before he was sentenced yesterday to a life term with parole.

Rodrigues, 36, was convicted of second-degree murder in May for firing three shots into the back of Lorenzo Young's head and leaving him in a burning car on Easter Day 1988. The two had gone out to Waikiki the night before with friends.

Rodrigues has been convicted of four slayings over an eight-year period, earning him the title as one of the most dangerous men in Hawaii. He was indicted in 1998. The other three convictions:

>> Yesterday, Rodrigues also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of William Lau in October 1990 and received a 20-year prison term.

>> Rodrigues was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1995 death of Wayne Pemberton.

>> Rodrigues received life in prison with the possibility of parole for his conviction in the February 1990 murder of Leo Tuaoa.

Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter agrees that Rodrigues is a "cold-blooded killer with no regard for human life."

Rodrigues has killed four people -- three of them at point-blank range with a semiautomatic firearm -- acts Van Marter characterized as "deliberate, premeditated acts of violence."

Lau, who had witnessed Rodrigues' involvement in another murder, had been lured by Rodrigues under a car on the pretense of removing a muffler, prosecutors said.

Lau was crushed to death when the jacks were kicked out and part of the car landed on him.

Attorney David Klein, who represented Rodrigues in the Lau case, said that because of the publicity at his first three trials, his client had concerns over whether he could receive a fair trial.

"It was best he take the deal," he said.

Attorney Howard Luke, who represented Rodrigues in the Young murder, said they intend to appeal the conviction.

The defense, which argued police got the wrong guy, could not introduce "trustworthy" evidence that showed another individual was responsible for Young's killing, Luke said. Once police set their sights on Rodrigues, they did not look elsewhere, he said.

Before sentencing, Ranasha Young told her story in court. Young, 24, was just a child when she learned her father had died -- two days before she turned 11.

She remembers that day vividly because she and her 5-year-old brother waited all day to open their Easter baskets. Her mother had left early that morning saying their father had been in an accident and instructed them not to open their baskets until she returned.

When she finally returned that night, she sat them down and asked them if they knew where people and animals go when they died.

Her brother answered, "Heaven."

"That's where Daddy's at right now," their mother said.

Because her father had no money, he would steal so he could take them school shopping. He once stole a Christmas tree so they could have one during the holidays.There was a time he would take her almost every day to hang out with Rodrigues and his friends at the home of the late Charlie Stevens, whose daughter dated Rodrigues.

Stevens was known to law enforcement as an organized-crime figure on the Leeward Coast.

Young played with the other kids there and called her father's friends, including Rodrigues, "uncle" and their wives "auntie."

When she heard that Rodrigues was allegedly responsible for her father's death, her question was "Why?"

Even after listening to the testimony at Rodrigues' trial, the answer still eludes her.

She speculates it was over drugs and wishes she could still talk to Rodrigues to learn the truth. Even a letter of explanation from him would do.

"I have no hatred or anger for him, only remorse," Young said.

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