A state judge sentenced Tevita Aholelei to the mandatory 20-year prison term for manslaughter this morning for killing his rugby teammate with a single punch.
Solomone Niusini, 26, was fatally injured Dec. 18 when he was punched, fell backward and hit his head on the ground outside Da Kine Sports Bar in Iwilei.
Because Aholelei, 21, has a prior felony theft conviction, Circuit Judge Glenn Kim could have ordered him to spend at least six years and eight months of his 20-year prison term behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Kim instead imposed a one-year minimum citing Aholelei’s youth and contrary to the jury’s guilty verdict, found that the state did not prove Aholelei knew his reckless behavior would cause Niusini’s death.
The Hawaii Paroling Authority can set a higher minimum term.