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Hawaii News

Life sentence for Kahanaoi

Nelson Daranciang

A Circuit Court judge yesterday sentenced Daniel Kahanaoi to life in prison plus 20 years for gunning down attorney Craig Kimsel in his Kailua home, ordering Kahanaoi to spend at least 30 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.

A jury last month found Kahanaoi, 46, guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and using a firearm to commit both crimes on April 28, 2009.

A man who was in Kimsel’s Oneawa Street home helping with kitchen renovations said Kahanaoi shot Kimsel in the neck as the lawyer was on the telephone calling 911 and turning away from Kahanaoi.

He said Kahanaoi then shot Kimsel in the back as Kimsel was lying motionless, face down on the floor.

Circuit Judge Glenn Kim told Kahanaoi what he did to Kimsel was just "atrocious."

"There’s no other word for it. You basically executed an unarmed man in his own home," Kim said, "This community of ours, which is a civilized community, will simply not tolerate it."

Kahanaoi chose not to speak at his sentencing.

He had gone to Kimsel’s home looking for his girlfriend, Rusty Anoba, who was hiding during the shooting in Kimsel’s bedroom. She had a temporary restraining order in effect against Kahanaoi.

Kimsel had also filed for a temporary restraining order against Kahanaoi, fortified his home and installed a surveillance system for protection from Kahanaoi.

On the night of the shooting Kimsel unlocked the gate to his driveway to let someone else in when Kahanaoi slipped through.

During the trial Kahanaoi testified he fired the first shot at Kimsel by accident and fired the second one in self-defense.

Outside the courtroom yesterday Anoba said she believes Kahanaoi went to Kimsel’s home intending to kill both her and Kimsel. During the trial, however, Anoba contradicted statements she had given to police by supporting Kahanaoi’s version of events.

"I feel sorry for Rusty," said Barbara Ankersmit, Kimsel’s mother. "I know that she probably has some regrets about some of this testimony and the way she changed things. But she has to live with herself and I feel very sorry for her."

The same jury that found Kahanaoi guilty rejected the state’s request for an extended sentence of life in prison without the opportunity for parole. The normal penalty for second-degree murder is life with parole.

Kim was able to sentence Kahanaoi to life with parole plus 20 years by consecutively imposing the maximum penalties for murder with a firearm and burglary with a firearm. The 30-year minimum is due to Kahanaoi’s use of a semi-automatic firearm in both the murder and burglary.


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