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Army sergeant pleads not guilty in fatal shooting of wife in Waikiki

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 10:26 a.m. HST, Dec 2, 2013

A 40-year-old Army master sergeant today entered a plea of not guilty for allegedly killing his wife two months ago in their Waikiki high-rise apartment.

Master Sgt. Leonardo Chavez will be tried in Circuit Court on a charge of second-degree murder beginning the week of Feb. 3 before Judge Edward Kubo.

He is accused of murdering his wife, Tara Isnin, 33, on Oct. 28. The couple had been married for only two months and friends said the victim was contemplating a divorce. Chavez, from the Dominican Republic, is being held at Oahu Community Correctional Center unable to post bail of $1 million. 

Chavez was released Nov. 26 from Tripler Army Medical Center where has been hospitalized after trying to kill himself. He had been in the Army hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to his right cheek that occurred in an apparent suicide attempt after he allegedly killed his wife, police said.

Police transferred Chavez from the Beretania Street cellblock to Oahu Community Correctional Center on Nov. 27. He also faces a weapons charge. Chavez was arraigned via closed-circuit video link from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. He is being represented by the public defender's office.

Isnin, 33, from Singapore, died from brain injuries caused by multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Honolulu medical examiner.

On Nov. 19, an Oahu grand jury indicted Chavez on a charge of second-degree murder.

Chavez, who enlisted in the Army in December 1995, is stationed at Camp Smith and assigned to the Pacific Command's Special Operations Command. However, Chavez is listed as a supply specialist. Chavez served in Iraq from November 2009 to February 2010.

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