Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, April 13, 2002

Convicted killer sentenced to life without parole

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Convicted killer Keith Murauskas, who was described by prosecutors as a "sociopath" who can never be rehabilitated, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering a cab driver and trying to murder his wife.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario sentenced Murauskas, 46, for the murder of Paul Salazar in April 1999 and the attempted murder of Salazar's wife. The judge also granted the prosecution's request for an extended sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole on a kidnapping conviction.

Del Rosario ordered that the two life sentences be served concurrently. But he also said they will run consecutively to three life terms with parole Murauskas received for a string of armed robberies in 1983.

Murauskas was on parole after serving 14 years in prison for the 1983 convictions at the time of the Salazar murder.

Although Murauskas was sentenced to a life term without parole, state law allows the governor to commute the sentence to life with parole after he serves 20 years in prison.

"I hope he never gets out because he's an extremely dangerous man," said city deputy prosecutor Christopher Van Marter. "He's basically a sociopath. He's been committing crimes for most of his adult life. He's incapable of being rehabilitated."

A jury convicted Murauskas in January of bludgeoning Salazar, 33, to death with a sledgehammer at Salazar's apartment. He also was convicted of planning to kill Salazar's wife, Virginia, so there would be no witnesses.

Prosecutors said Murauskas, a cab driver, and an acquaintance, Edward Wallace Martin, went to Salazar's Magellan Avenue apartment to steal contents of a safe. Murauskas beat Salazar to death and then stabbed him repeatedly with a hunting knife, prosecutors said. Virginia Salazar was not at home at the time of the murder.

Martin pleaded guilty for his role in the case and testified against Murauskas.

Murauskas was sentenced on the first-degree attempted murder conviction, which meant he tried to kill more than one person. That conviction carries a harsher penalty than a second-degree murder charge which carries a life term with parole.

Murauskas' sentencing was postponed twice this week because of outbursts in the courtroom. At Wednesday's sentencing hearing one of Salazar's brothers shouted profanities at Murauskas. On Thursday, Murauskas argued with Del Rosario and got into a scuffle with two sheriff deputies who were leading him to a holding area.

Yesterday, Murauskas entered the courtroom with a Band-Aid on his forehead from an injury he received during the struggle. He was well-behaved and even joked with attorney Keith Shigetomi, who had defended Murauskas at trial but was later fired. Murauskas told the lawyer he had been injured when he "slipped in the shower."