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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Man gets one-year sentence for 'murder by omission'

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

A 38-year-old Kane'ohe man was sentenced yesterday to a year in jail and 10 years probation in connection with the March 2001 death of his wife.

Darren Yokotake was initially charged with second-degree murder in the death of Lisa Mariko Yokotake, 38. Prosecutors said she died of gross neglect and that Darren Yokotake failed to seek and obtain medical treatment for her in the final days of her life.

Yokotake pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter before Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto in July under the terms of a plea agreement that called for him to spend no more than a year in jail.

Yokotake was the first spouse brought up on the so-called "murder by omission" charge. The charge is sometimes lodged against parents suspected of abusing their child and failing to seek proper care, resulting in the child's death.

But the Yokotake case differed because he had provided his wife with care. After Lisa Yokotake suffered a ruptured aneurism and was paralyzed on one side more than six years ago, Darren Yokotake quit his job so he could be with her.

Deputy Public Defender Ed Harada yesterday called the case a tragic one and said Yokotake "did the best he could for as long as he could" before "burning out" after seven years.

City Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader described the case as a "tragedy all around."

"Mr. Yokotake made the best effort he could for a substantial amount of time to care for his wife," Trader said. "But when she needed him the most, he failed."