Man pleads guilty in fatal shooting


POSTED: Thursday, April 22, 2010

A 71-year-old man pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday for the 2009 Easter morning fatal shooting of a 54-year-old woman who spurned his advances.

Melvin Yoshida also pleaded guilty in Circuit Court yesterday to using a firearm to commit the killing and agreed to a minimum 20-year prison term.

He was charged with second-degree murder in the April 12, 2009, shooting death of Clare Silva in her Punchbowl Homes first-floor apartment.

“;With this sentence as it stands now, as it will come out at the time of sentencing, he should never see the outside of a prison again,”; said Michelle Puu, deputy city prosecutor.

According to the terms of his plea deal with the state, Yoshida agreed to the mandatory 20-year prison term for manslaughter and will agree to serve the full term when his case goes before the Hawaii Paroling Authority. The state can ask for a 40-year prison term when Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario sentences Yoshida in August.

Silva was the president of the Punchbowl Homes Resident Association.

Yoshida lived in a seventh-floor apartment.

Puu said she accepted the plea agreement because had the case gone to trial, Yoshida was going to claim that Silva led him on. And she believed Yoshida would have appeared as a sympathetic defendant to a jury because of his failing health.

At yesterday's hearing, Del Rosario allowed Yoshida to stand closer to the bench, spoke louder than he normally does and repeated questions more than once because of Yoshida's loss of hearing in one ear.

Yoshida's wife died the previous year and her name was also Clare.