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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Man sentenced to life for Waikiki slaying

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

A man who was found guilty almost a year ago of manslaughter for the April 2000 strangling death of another man in a Waikiki apartment was sentenced yesterday to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

A manslaughter conviction normally carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, but Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall granted a request by city Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Albert for the extended term based on what Albert said was Kennard Montez's continued propensity toward violence.

Montez, 39, was accused of luring Henry Paoa, 47, to his apartment in the Waipuna condominium early on April 6, 2000, under the guise of providing Paoa, a cocaine user, with drugs.

The prosecution maintained that a struggle ensued in which Montez, gouged out both of Paoa's eyes before strangling him.

Montez, a lawyer licensed to practice in Arkansas, maintained during the trial that Paoa, a producer for the Olelo public access television channel, was the aggressor and that he killed him in self defense. Paoa was found to have cocaine and methamphetamine in his system.

Albert yesterday said that of three mental health experts who examined Montez, two concluded that he "represented a serious risk of violence" in the future.

An investigation into Montez's past showed that he had been involved in a number of violent acts, "including one other alleged homicide" although he was never convicted in connection with those incidents, Albert said. One of the doctors who evaluated Montez concluded he had a condition called "explosive violence disorder," Albert said.

Deputy Public Defender Todd Eddins, Montez's lawyer, declined comment yesterday. He had argued that Montez didn't have previous convictions and could not be sentenced under Hawai'i law to an extended term.

Albert said he fully expects Eddins to appeal Montez's life sentence. It will be up to the Hawai'i Paroling Authority to determine how much of the life sentence Montez must serve before he is eligible for parole.