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Parole board sets 80-year minimum for mother who starved daughter

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 9:31 a.m. HST, Oct 22, 2010


Denise Wright will have to spend at least 80 years of her life sentence behind bars before she is eligible for parole for nearly starving to death her 12-year-old daughter in 2007.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority set the 80-year minimum for the 37-year-old Wright last month. The prosecutor had asked for a 100-year minimum. 

The parole board had previously set a 50-year minimum for Wright's former husband, 36-year-old Melvin Wright Jr.

A state judge sentenced each of the Wrights to life prison terms with the opportunity for parole last December after a jury found them guilty of the attempted second-degree murder of their daughter Indigo.

When a city ambulance crew went to the Wrights' Kinau Street apartment Jan. 7, 2007, Indigo was unresponsive, near death and weighed just 29 pounds.

The state took custody of the Indigo, now 16, and placed her in foster care with her paternal grandparents in South Carolina.

The state says Indigo will never fully recover and will suffer from a developmental handicap for the rest of her life because of the malnourishment she experienced.

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