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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 2, 2008

KILLER
Big Island murderer gets 100-year term

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Jeffrey B. Santos Jr

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Daysha Iwalani Aiona Aka

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HILO, Hawai'i A Big Island man who shot his former girlfriend to death in front of the couple's 2-year-old son in 2006 will likely serve 100 years in prison before parole is a possibility, the Hawai'i Paroling Authority has decided.

The century-long minimum term for Jeffrey B. Santos Jr. in the slaying of Daysha Iwalani Aiona Aka, 21, is tied for the longest minimum term imposed for second-degree murder in the past three years, said parole administrator Max Otani. The normal minimum term for second-degree murder has averaged 40 to 50 years, he said.

The paroling authority also imposed a minimum term of 20 years on Santos for using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony. That sentence will be served concurrent to the minimum term for murder.

Thomas Akimseu, Aiona Aka's grandfather, said in a written statement that "for this violent and heinous murder of a young mother and in the presence of her young son, the 100-year minimum sentence is warranted."

"Although it cannot bring Daysha back, we have the satisfaction of knowing that Jeffrey Santos Jr. will pay for his crime. Our family is still grieving and he has affected our lives forever. May this be a message to the public that our society will not tolerate domestic violence," Akimseu wrote.

Santos, 24, told police he shot Aiona Aka once in the head with a .22-caliber pistol as their toddler son looked on, and then put her body in the woman's 2003 Mazda, which he later set on fire.

Santos later led police to the burned car in a rain forest area of Pana'ewa outside Hilo, according to court records. Aiona Aka's body was identified through dental records.

Family Court records show Aiona Aka had been in a relationship with Santos for six years, and the two lived together in 'Ainaloa Estates until 2006.

Aiona Aka, a Safeway Food and Drug liquor department manager, moved out in August 2006 after she alleged Santos had beaten her during an argument.

In September 2006 she obtained a Family Court restraining order to keep Santos away from her, but family members said Aiona Aka continued to take her son to see Santos because she wanted the boy to know his father.

Michael Kagami, the deputy county prosecutor who presented the case to the paroling authority, said the parole board heard testimony from Aiona Aka's mother, brother, grandmother and grandfather, who described the impact the murder had on the family.

"She was young, she was doing well at her job, and I think what weighed heavily was it was in front of the son," Kagami said. Aiona Aka's child has shown signs he remembers what he saw, and it has been affecting him, Kagami said.

Otani said Santos must serve one-third of his minimum term before he can request a reduction in his minimum. The current paroling authority rarely grants such reductions.

Reach Kevin Dayton at kdayton@honoluluadvertiser.com.