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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:06 p.m., Thursday, March 27, 2003

Woman found guilty in caretaker killing

By Zenaida Serrano Espanol
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Circuit Court judge today found a former care home patient guilty of second-degree murder for the September 2001 stabbing death of her caretaker.
Former care home patient Emelie Rauschenburg was found guilty today of second-degree murder in the September 2001 stabbing of her caretaker. Rauschenburg, 57, will face a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

Emelie Rauschenburg, 57, will face a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole when she is sentenced July 25.

Rauschenburg was convicted of killing 64-year-old Agapita Alcaraz, the operator of the Waipahu care home where Rauschenburg lived.

"I think it was the right result," city Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Albert said of the verdict.Albert said based on the facts, there was nothing else Circuit Judge Wilfred Watanabe could have done.

"The main emotion I have is sorrow for the Alcaraz family," Albert said. "It was a horrible tragedy for them."

Alcaraz's husband, Bartolome Alcaraz, had no comment on the verdict, but her son, Bruce Alcaraz, said he was glad the case "is kind of over."

"I'm satisfied with the decision," he said.

Rauschenburg's lawyer, deputy public defender Gary Oakes, left the courtroom after the verdict without talking to reporters and could not be reached for comment later.

A police dispatcher testified in a previous District Court hearing that Rausch enburg told her she stabbed Alcaraz with a dinner knife because she was dissatisfied with the food at the home.

Rauschenburg, who has a history of mental illness and drug abuse, was acquitted by reason of insanity when she faced charges of murder and attempted murder related to setting fire to a Makiki residence that killed a man in 1984.

She was committed to the state hospital in Kane'ohe and was later granted a conditional release. Despite Rauschenburg's history, no one had told Alcaraz about Rauschenburg's background when she moved into the Waipahu care home in March 2001.

The case prompted legislators last year to pass Act 166, which requires the state Department of Health to disclose to adult residential care home operators the prior criminal history of prospective residents if the resident was convicted of violent crimes or acquitted by reason of insanity of a violent crime.

Rauschenburg has been incarcerated at O'ahu Community Correctional Center, Albert said.