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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 24, 2001

Maui killer sentenced to minimum 100 years

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Maui man who was convicted of stabbing his wife to death and mutilating her body two years ago will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The Hawai'i Paroling Authority ruled that Brian Kawamoto must spend a minimum 100 years in prison before he will be eligible for parole. Kawamoto was found guilty last year of the Sept. 24, 1999, murder of his estranged wife, Bridget Kawamoto.

Prosecutors said Brian Kawamoto hid in his wife's Waiehu home until she returned to the house, then attacked her in the shower. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and also first-degree terroristic threatening, abuse of a household member, and violating terms of a temporary restraining order.

Maui Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto last November sentenced Kawamoto to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Other minimum sentences recently handed down by the Hawai'i Paroling Authority include:

• Samuel Cooper Jr., 100 years of a life sentence for murder. Cooper pleaded guilty in November 2000 for the May 1999 strangulation of Honolulu Symphony volunteer Fred Cramer. Cooper also is serving a 100-year minimum term for the August 1999 murder of Waikiki video store clerk Keith Miyashiro.

• Raquel Bermisa, six years and eight months of a 20-year sentence for manslaughter. The former Pearl City care-home operator was found guilty last October for the death of a patient, 79-year-old Chiyeko Tanouye. A Circuit Court jury found that Bermisa's neglect led to Tanouye's death in August 1999.

Bermisa had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in March 2000 and prosecutors agreed not to seek more than a year in prison. But she withdrew her plea and went on trial after changing attorneys and learning that a medical expert would testify she was not responsible for the death.

• Danny H. Haili, 40 years of a life sentence for the 1996 murder of his wife. Haili was convicted of second-degree murder last November in the shooting death of his wife, Philimena. The 50-year-old Kailua woman was shot 11 times in the couple's carport.

• Cheryl Mosier, 10 years of a 20-year sentence for manslaughter. Mosier pleaded guilty to manslaughter last November and admitted killing her husband, hula instructor Harbin "Dickie" Mosier Jr., by stabbing him in the neck with a kitchen knife.

• Ralph P. Cuesta, five years of a 10-year sentence for the October 2000 attack on three women from Japan. Cuesta was found guilty of kidnapping and robbing the three near the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa. He pleaded guilty to forcing his way into the women's car and using a stun-gun on two of the women.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8025.