comscore Bar fight, shooting gets murderer a mandatory life term in prison
Hawaii News

Bar fight, shooting gets murderer a mandatory life term in prison

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Convicted murderer Phillip Dejesus Deleon said he went to a Keeaumoku Street karaoke bar last summer to listen to music after he was assaulted at another bar nearby.

The man who assaulted him and the man’s friends, including 35-year-old Shawn Powell, were already at the karaoke bar.

Deleon, 34, said he did not know Powell and his friends were going to be there.

"I thought they followed me and felt trapped. I took the gun out of my trunk of my car hoping it would scare them. It didn’t," he said.

A state judge sentenced Deleon yesterday morning to a mandatory life prison term with the opportunity for parole for second-degree murder.

The judge also ordered Deleon to spend at least 20 years behind bars before he is eligible for release because he used a semiautomatic handgun to kill Powell. The Hawaii Paroling Authority can set a higher minimum.

Yesterday was the first time Deleon recited in court his version of the events of July 31, 2009.

He did not testify during his trial in September.

The state said Deleon killed Powell in vengeance, for the humiliating assault he suffered at the other bar.

The prosecutor said one of Powell’s friends slapped Deleon to the floor in front of a bar full of people.

Deleon’s lawyer said the shooting was self-defense.

Deleon said Powell kept walking toward him in the parking lot, yelling and swearing even after he warned Powell to stay away.

"As he got closer I fired a shot into the air hoping he would stop coming. He didn’t stop," he said. "It wasn’t until Powell reached for me that I fired one at him."

The shot hit Powell in the chest.

Deleon fired more shots, some hitting the ground and one shattering the windshield of the sport utility vehicle in which Powell and his friends arrived.

Police arrested Deleon later at Honolulu Airport attempting to catch a flight to the mainland.


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