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State parole board is in Arizona to hear killer ask to go free

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Convicted double murderer Raita Fuku­saku will appear before the Hawaii Paroling Authority today to ask for his release after serving less than half of his 40-year minimum term.

The parole board will convene at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona, where Fuku­saku is serving two consecutive life prison terms.

A state jury found Fuku­saku guilty of two counts of murder in 1995 in the deaths of well-known Japa­nese fortuneteller Toako "Koto­tome" Fujita and Fujita’s son Goro Fujita.

Firefighters found Toako Fujita’s body in the closet of her penthouse apartment at 1350 Ala Moana Blvd. on Feb. 23, 1994. She had been shot in the chest, and someone had started a fire in the apartment.

Later that day, firefighters found the body of Goro Fujita in his car at the Park Shore Hotel in Waikiki. He too had been shot in the chest, and his car was set on fire.

Fukusaku claimed that members of the "yakuza," the Japa­nese crime syndicate, were behind the murders.

A state judge sentenced Fuku­saku to the mandatory life prison term with the opportunity for parole for each murder and ordered him to serve the two life terms one after the other. The judge also ordered Fuku­saku to serve at least 15 years behind bars for each life term, for a total of 30 years, before he is eligible for parole.

The parole board later set a 20-year minimum for each murder conviction, for a total of 40 years.

Fukusaku appealed his sentence, and the Hawaii Supreme Court threw out the 30-year minimum ordered by the judge.

After the judge resentenced Fuku­saku without a mandatory minimum, the Hawaii Paroling Authority set a new 50-year minimum. But the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appels last year rejected the increase.

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