Killer now must serve 125-year sentence
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
Convicted killer Maryann Bray's long pursuit of a new trial backfired badly after she was re-convicted last year of a 1978 homicide, and Thursday she was ordered to spend 125 years in prison before being considered for parole.
The Hawai'i Paroling Authority set Bray's minimum term after a hearing at the Women's Community Correctional Facility.
Bray, who was convicted here under her married name Maryann Acker, sought the new Hawai'i trial in part to improve her chances for parole from the California prison where she has been imprisoned for a second 1978 homicide.
Now, even if she is granted a California parole, Bray will be returned here to spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Her lawyer, Keith Shigetomi, said he plans to file a motion to overturn that parole decision.
After Bray's first conviction here, she was sentenced to a life term with the possibility of parole and the Paroling Authority set her minimum prison term at 30 years. But the board this week quadrupled that minimum term after prosecutors argued that Bray poses a danger to the community, that she has shown no remorse for her crimes and that the average minimum term for defendants like Bray has risen since the first parole board decision.
SHE 'HASN'T LEARNED'
Deputy Prosecutor Landon Murata said he told the parole board that Acker has been in prison since 1978 "and hasn't learned a thing. She's responsible for two deaths but still considers herself, or portrays herself, as a victim."
Murata said he asked the board for a 100-year minimum term.
A 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision prohibits judges from imposing harsher new sentences on defendants like Bray who successfully attack earlier convictions and who have not engaged in new conduct justifying longer imprisonment, Shigetomi said.
The Paroling Authority said the Supreme Court decision applied to courts and judges, not parole boards, Shigetomi said.
"They didn't even ask a question except, 'Why are we here?' " Shigetomi said.
Bray has been a model prisoner for 20 years in California and earned a degree while incarcerated there, he said. California prison authorities found that she did not present a danger to the community, according to the defense lawyer.
In last year's retrial, Bray testified that her ex-husband, William Acker, was responsible for the slaying here of Lawrence Hasker and of Cesario Arauza in California. William Acker testified that she was the killer, using the same .38-caliber handgun to commit both homicides.
William Acker was only convicted of robbery here after he agreed to testify against Bray in the first trial and again last year.
The Ackers came here from Arizona in the summer of 1978 and planned to support themselves by robbing tourists and drug dealers, Murata told jurors in the retrial.
They first kidnapped and robbed one victim, then did the same nine days later to Hasker, taking him first to the apartment where they were staying, then to Hanauma Bay, Murata said.
Bray killed Hasker by shooting him in the head, Murata said.