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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hawaii man pleads guilty to Punchbowl Homes killing

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Seventy-one-year-old Melvin Yoshida pleaded guilty today to killing his Punchbowl Homes neighbor Clare Silva last year and has agreed to serve 20 years in prison for the crime.

Yoshida pleaded guilty to manslaughter and a firearms charge.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario set sentencing for July 21.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Pu'u said she intends to ask for a sentence of 40 years consecutive terms of 20 years for manslaughter and 20 for using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Pu'u said Silva's daughter supports the plea agreement reached with Yoshida.

Yoshida fatally shot Silva at her Punchbowl Homes apartment on Captain Cook Avenue April 12, 2009. Police said Silva was on the phone with her sister−in−law on the Mainland when there was a "banging" on her door.

The sister−in−law told police that Silva put the phone down and then she heard gun shots.

Silva was shot in the abdomen.

Police said Yoshida admitted to them that he had shot Silva and said he intended to kill himself but lost his nerve.

He referred to Silva as his girlfriend but other residents and acquaintances at Punchbowl Homes said the two did not have a relationship. They said Yoshida had been pressuring Silva and other women to be his girlfriend since his wife died in February 2008.

Silva's daughter, Tyffny Riordan, said at a memorial service for her mother last year that the victim had "tried to see the good in (Yoshida) and wanted to be his friend. My mom's heart was bigger than she was."