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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 20, 2008

Guilty plea in fatal stabbing

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Victorio Barayuga, with attorney Ben Ignacio and interpreter Carmelita Valdez-Mier, faces 20 years in prison for stabbing his wife to death.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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A 63-year-old man whose family had been trying to get him help for mental illness in the months before he stabbed his wife to death pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday.

During a change of plea hearing, Victorio T. Barayuga, aided by a Tagalog interpreter, told O'ahu Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall, "I killed my wife."

Barayuga, a Filipino citizen with a sixth-grade education, had pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. He changed his plea to guilty of manslaughter based on extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

He will be sentenced March 9 at 9 a.m. and faces up to 20 years in prison and deportation to the Philippines.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Rom A. Trader said it was "pretty clear" that Barayuga had mental and emotional difficulties in the months leading up to the killing. Barayuga's family had been taking him to a doctor and seeking medication.

"This man was clearly not himself. It's very clear that he was attempting to get help. Their efforts, unfortunately, fell overly short," said Trader, speaking outside of court yesterday. "On the day of the offense, what should have been a minor argument turned into a tragedy. It's a tragedy no matter how you look at it."

Barayuga's attorney, Benjamin R.C. Ignacio, said the Barayuga family is dealing with the loss of their mother and the guilt of their father.

"They're all supportive considering that he killed their mother. This resolution was a fair one," said Ignacio, speaking after the proceedings.

Barayuga was charged with second-degree murder nine days after the June 13, 2007, death of his wife, Liwliwa Barayuga, 63, in their 'Akina Street home.

Barayuga told police and doctors that his wife didn't listen to his pleas and told him to kill himself, according to an affidavit filed in Circuit Court at the time of his arrest.

Barayuga repeatedly said he "couldn't take the pain anymore" and that he heard voices several times telling him to "do it."

"I kill my wife. I beg her, but she didn't listen," Barayuga told authorities, according to the affidavit.

Barayuga made the statements to Dr. Enrique Villareal and police officer Reid Tagomori from his hospital bed at The Queen's Medical Center the day after the incident, the document said.

The Barayugas lived with relatives in the 'Akina Street house. At 11:25 a.m. on June 13, 2007, according to the affidavit, Victorio Barayuga knocked on the bedroom door of his sister-in-law, Estrella Barayuga.

She found Victorio covered in blood. Estrella notified her sister-in-law, Eufemia Saoit, then called 911.

Liwliwa Barayuga's body was found in a bedroom. An autopsy determined that she died of a stab wound to the chest.

Firefighter Albert Kauwe, one of the first emergency responders to arrive, tended to Victorio Barayuga, who had slashed his wrists, and asked what happened. Barayuga replied that he "didn't want to live anymore," the affidavit said.

Kauwe found a kitchen knife with an 8-inch blade beneath Barayuga, who was lying on his side.

The affidavit also said that on June 15, Barayuga's daughter, Marilou Coughlan, visited him in the hospital and asked what happened. Her father replied that he heard voices telling him to "do it" several times, and that he couldn't take it anymore and "did it."

On June 20, Barayuga's son-in-law, Robert Coughlan, visited him in the hospital and asked Barayuga what happened. Barayuga said that his wife missed work that morning because they were arguing and that she died about 8 a.m., the affidavit said.

After his release from Queen's, Barayuga agreed to go to a police station and give a statement about what happened. With a Tagalog-speaking police officer translating, Barayuga was read his rights and arrested.

Liwliwa Barayuga is survived by her daughter, Marilou; three sons in the Philippines; brothers, Hipolito Sr., Pablo, Francisco and Placido; and sisters, Bibiyana and Leticia.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.