HILO >> A judge this morning sentenced Jaylin Kema to 10 years of probation for manslaughter in the death of her 6-year-old son Peter “Peter Boy” Kema in 1997.
None of Kema’s children were present at today’s sentencing.
Prosecutors and Kema agreed on a plea deal that included her testimony against her husband, Peter Kema Sr., if his case had gone to trial.
Both Kemas were indicted on second-degree murder charges in the death of their son.
Jaylin Kema, fitted with a prosthetic leg, walked into the courtroom with her black and white chihuahua, no longer needing a wheelchair as when she appeared in court in April 2016.
She tearfully apologized to her children and parents, thanking them for caring for her children when she did not. She told the judge she knows she deserves to be imprisoned for keeping secret the abuse of Peter Boy.
Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto contemplated not following the plea agreement guidelines in sentencing Jaylin Kema. He said there were many factors he considered, including that she failed to seek medical help for her son, who died from septic shock after years of chronic abuse.
The judge said she did not come forward for many years, which affected the family, law enforcement and the entire community, and was a matter of statewide concern.
Despite her being a sufferer of domestic abuse, he said, it was still difficult to understand how she failed to come forward.
In the end, he sentenced her to one year in prison, with credit for time served. She had been free on probation since April 27.
Peter Kema Sr., who also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, has yet to be sentenced. He faces a 20-year sentence on the condition that he reveal the location of Peter Boy’s remains.
Nakamoto also ordered Jaylin Kema to pay $16,687 in restitution in a separate theft and sentenced her to four years of probation. She was convicted of theft of more than $17,000 in public-assistance benefits she wasn’t entitled to between May 2010 and July 2015.
Although she was ordered not to contact her three children and father, James Acol, provisions were made so that that could change. One of her children has expressed wanting contact.