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Court affirms conviction of man who threw tot onto H-1 freeway

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:13 p.m. HST, Jan 31, 2012

The state appeals court affirmed today the murder conviction of Matthew Higa for tossing 23-month-old Cyrus Belt from the Miller Street overpass of the H-1 freeway four years ago.

In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel rejected Higa's appeal,  including his contention that the prosecution failed to prove the child was alive when he was thrown from the overpass.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario found Higa guilty of second-degree murder for causing Belt's death Jan. 17, 2008.  The judge sentenced him to a prison term of 15 years to life in prison.  In 2010, the Hawaii Paroling Authority ruled that Higa must serve at least 200 years in prison before he can be released on parole.

In its 32-page ruling, the appeals panel said it was undisputed that Higa was on drugs.

Higa, 26, admitted after his arrest he was a chronic crystal methamphetamine user.

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