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Homeless man gets 20 years in manslaughter case

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An Oahu circuit judge sentenced 36-year-old Michael Limjuco Abella, a homeless man, to 20 years’ imprisonment today in the beating death of a fellow homeless man in Chinatown last year.

Circuit Judge Colette Garibaldi sentenced Abella for manslaughter in the beating death of Shelton Higa, 57.

A Circuit Court jury found in August Abella guilty of manslaughter in Higa’s death.

Witnesses said Higa was standing on the corner of Smith and Pauahi streets on July 17, 2014, when Abella came from behind and struck Higa on the head with a 40-ounce beer bottle and left.

They testified seeing Abella return about an hour later and punch Higa several times in the head.

Higa was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center, where he died 12 days later, on July 29, 2014, from complications of blunt force head injuries.

Emergency Medical Services said Higa had refused to be taken to a hospital after the first beating, but he was taken there after the second beating. He died two days after doctors removed him from life support.

The state said Higa suffered from kidney disease and was partially blind in one eye.

Abella testified he did not beat Higa in the first attack with a beer bottle, but did hit him three times in the second attack after Higa provoked him and hit him twice.

Higa was the father of Matthew Higa, who is serving a life sentence for throwing toddler Cyrus Belt, 23 months, onto the H-1 freeway in 2008. Shelton Higa paid his son’s attorney’s fees in the case.

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