Big Island traffic
fatality brings 20-year
prison term

The victim's husband says
Stephen St. Clair
shows no remorse

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Dan Botkin was tying his shoelaces to get ready for a jog along Alii Drive in Kona when he received a call from police who told him to drive to the station immediately.

Bewildered by the call, Botkin called his sister-in-law to find out what had happened. She informed him of his wife's death.

"It's like going from one world to another. I was so happy. All of a sudden, I was in another world. I'll never forget it," he said.

More than five months later, Botkin watched yesterday as Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra sentenced the man responsible for his wife's death to 20 years in prison.

Stephen St. Clair was found guilty of manslaughter in June. On Feb. 23, St. Clair sped out of Holualoa Beach Park in a van and rammed 58-year-old Jane O'Brien of Santa Barbara, Calif., against a stone wall in front of the historic Hale Halawai o Holualoa Church.

St. Clair's attorney, Michael McPherson, said he plans to file an appeal and seek a lesser conviction of negligent homicide in the first degree. McPherson noted St. Clair had undergone treatment at a substance abuse outpatient program called Access Capabilities in Kailua-Kona.

"He's very remorseful. He has been since this happened," McPherson said.

St. Clair said he was sorry for causing O'Brien's death.

Deputy Prosecutor Linda Walton said, "I think he got the sentence he deserved, given his conduct and lack of regard for others."

Though Botkin was satisfied with the sentence, he said St. Clair's statement lacked any regret. "This is a person that shows no remorse for anybody," he said.

"It makes me feel (like) killing my wife didn't matter. My whole life changed and (is) all destroyed."

St. Clair's blood-alcohol level was recorded at 0.211 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Based on earlier testimony, St. Clair drank 10 cans and four large bottles of beer before the accident. He then became angry and sped out of the beach park when a marijuana dealer failed to show up.

St. Clair's history with alcohol includes four drunken-driving convictions in Canada. He is now being held at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center and is awaiting members of the Hawaii Paroling Authority to determine his actual prison time.

Botkin plans to speak to the Hawaii Paroling Authority via videoconferencing before officials reach a decision of St. Clair's sentence.

"I feel since I will suffer and other members of the family will suffer for the rest of their lives; the only justice is for him to serve a full term," he said.

O'Brien was involved in organizations to help keep youths from alcohol and drugs, Botkin said. She had donated $100,000 to the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County, he said.

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