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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 2, 2006

Plea agreement softens sentence for fatal shootings

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A 25-year-old man who killed two men has been given a chance to be released from prison after he serves a 20-year term.

Micah Kanahele was sentenced by Circuit Judge Michael Town as part of a plea agreement for the deaths of Greg Morishima, 49, who was gunned down by three masked men in an 'Aiea garage on Oct. 26, 2003, and Guylan Nuuhiwa, 26, who was shot in the parking lot of the Longs Drug store in Pearl City six days later.

Town sentenced Kanahele to a prison term of 20 years to life, but as part of the plea agreement, Kanahele will be allowed to withdraw from part of it if the Hawai'i Paroling Authority decides he should serve more than 20 years before he is eligible for release on parole.

But for now, the sentence closes the cases against Kanahele for the deaths of Morishima and Nuuhiwa.

"I guess from the family's point of view, we're not really satisfied," Greg Morishima's twin brother Gary said. "But the prosecutor did the best she can, and we have to abide by what was the decision of the court."

Kanahele was convicted of manslaughter for Morishima's death in a second trial. The earlier trial ended with a hung jury and the jurors in the second trial rejected a murder charge and found him guilty of the lesser manslaughter offense.

The two juries could not reach verdicts on Kanahele's three codefendants. Town rejected the prosecution's request for a third trial and dismissed the charges against the three men.

Kanahele also was charged with murdering Nuuhiwa and wounding another man at the parking lot.

As part of the deal, Kanahele was found guilty of murder and attempted murder after he decided not to challenge those charges and pleaded no contest.

The agreement allows Kanahele to withdraw those no contest pleas and go to trial on the murder and attempted murder charges if the paroling officials decide that Kanahele must serve more than 20 years.

Kanahele would then go to trial on those charges, but the manslaughter conviction would still stand and he would have to serve a maximum 20-year sentence for that case.

Reach Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.