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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Man gets life with parole in 2007 North Shore killing

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Prosecutors wanted Dustin Jimenez, 23, sentenced to life in prison, plus 45 years, for the murder of Dillon Ching in 2007 on Oahu’s North Shore, but Circuit Judge Richard Perkins this morning ordered Jimenez to serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

The sentence came at the end of an emotional two-day hearing attended by dozens of relatives and friends of Ching, 30, a father of two young boys.
Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Tashima asked that Jimenez serve a sentence of life with parole for his conviction last year on second-degree murder. Tashima asked that Jimenez serve an additional 45 years for firearms offenses, terroristic threatening and reckless endangerment.
The sentence would not be “unusual or cruel considering the actions of the defendant,” Tashima said.
Jimenez testified during the trial that he carried a handgun “for no particular reason” to a beer-drinking party on the beach across the street from Ching’s residence and fired the weapon at Ching because he believed the victim was physically threatening him with a baseball bat. He also admitted firing shots in the air before shooting Ching.
But Tashima said Ching was not a threat, and that he was standing as far as 19 feet away from Jimenez when he was shot.
Ching arrived at the home with his wife and son after an affray had broken out between the beach partygoers and several young men at the Ching residence.
Tashima said the life plus 45-year sentence “sends a message to other individuals who decide to take a weapon to a party.”
Jimenez spoke briefly, apologizing to the Ching family for his actions.
“I never knew this could happen,” he said. “I’m sorry for what I did.”
His lawyer, Chester Kanai, argued that the additional 45 years was unwarranted.
“We’re not dealing with an individual with an extensive record of felony offenses,” Kanai said.
Kanai called the case “a real tragedy” and acknowledged the “anguish” that Ching’s death had brought to his family and friends.
Kanai said a life sentence, with the possibility of parole, was the appropriate punishment for a man of Jimenez’s record and age.
Perkins agreed, ordering the life term, which carries a mandatory minimum time behind bars of 15 years.
He also ordered Jimenez to serve a separate five-year prison term for the earlier car theft conviction.
Perkins said the life with parole sentence “is justified, based on the defendant’s age, his prior record and the circumstances of the offense itself.”
The Hawaii Paroling Authority will meet later to determine how much time beyond 15 years Jimenez must serve before being considered for parole.
The parole board could require Jimenez to serve his entire life in prison, Perkins said.
“Life with parole is a sentence that could actually result in life,” said the judge.
Ching’s family gathered outside court after the sentencing to listen to his sister-in-law, Melissa Ann Dabin, say, “At least we have closure now. It’s been a long haul, but we stayed strong.”
Ching’s younger son, 27-month-old Xzavier, was born months after his father died.
His older son, Isaiah, will be six years old this weekend.