Former Schofield Barracks soldier Mark Heath apologized in Circuit Court yesterday to his victims, the U.S. Army, military veterans, the community and his former wife and her children for burglarizing University of Hawaii dormitories, stealing women’s panties and for sexually assaulting a woman in her Waikiki apartment in 2007.
"There’s no excuse for what I did," he said.
Heath, 23, was facing 60 years in prison if the judge ran back-to-back the maximum prison terms for the charges to which Heath either pleaded guilty or no contest, as the prosecutor requested.
Deputy Prosecutor Thalia Murphy said Heath is a serial sexual predator who is indiscriminate in choosing his victims.
"His conduct caused serious emotional harm, especially to the victims of the sexual assaults," she said.
His lawyer said Heath has lingering mental health issues and a sexual behavioral disorder because of some early childhood experiences, but that he can be rehabilitated.
"We don’t need to lock him up in a cage for the rest of his life. He’s not a monster," said Dean Young, Heath’s defense lawyer.
Young said Heath also developed an alcohol problem because of stress from a pending overseas deployment. He said alcohol was part of all of Heath’s crimes.
Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario did impose the maximum sentences for all of Heath’s crimes, but he ordered them run at the same time. That means Heath will serve no more than 10 years in prison, the penalty for the most serious of his crimes. Del Rosario also gave Heath credit for the two years and eight months he has already been in custody.
The Hawaii Paroling Authority will decide how much of the remaining time Heath will have to spend behind bars before he can apply for parole.
Honolulu police arrested Heath on Nov. 25, 2007, at one of UH’s dormitories after a male student caught him trying to enter one of the dorm rooms. He had a stolen iPod and women’s underwear in his pockets.
Heath later admitted to two other dormitory burglaries and stealing women’s underwear, other items and cash. In one of the burglaries, a female coed awoke as Heath was cutting off the panties she was wearing. He then held a scissors to her face and fondled her.
After police obtained Heath’s DNA sample, they used it to connect him to an April 9, 2007, Ala Wai Boulevard sexual assault for which they had no suspects. The woman awoke to find her assailant raping her and holding a pillow over her head.
Heath pleaded guilty to the UH burglaries and sexual assault and no contest to the Ala Wai burglary and sexual assault.
Both sexual assault victims moved back to the mainland because of what Heath did to them and continue to have nightmares and flashbacks of the assaults, Murphy said.