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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hilo man fit for murder trial

Associated Press

HILO, Hawai'i A Hawai'i Army National Guard soldier and Iraq war veteran accused of fatally stabbing his 14-year-old son and his estranged wife's unborn child has been found fit to stand trial for murder.

Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara said Tuesday that two psychiatrists and a psychologist unanimously concluded Tyrone Vesperas is able to understand the proceedings against him and to help his attorney in his defense.

Vesperas is also accused in the alleged attempted murder of his wife, Cheryl Vesperas.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder by omission and possessing a deadly weapon. He faces the charge of murder by omission for allegedly failing to help his wounded son even though he was instructed to do so by a 911 dispatcher.

Vesperas faces a sentence of life in prison if convicted of murder.

Vesperas admitted to stabbing his son in the neck and stabbing his pregnant wife in the abdomen during a June 2007 domestic dispute in their Puna home, police said.

The son, Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan, tried to hold back his father so his mother could escape. During the struggle, the teen was stabbed in the left side of his neck, cutting his jugular vein.

The son was recorded begging a 911 operator for help, sobbing: "My dad stabbed me in my neck. Please, come with police, call the police."

The boy was dead by the time police arrived at the home. Cheryl Vesperas fled the house and was met near Kea'au by an ambulance. Doctors couldn't save her unborn child, who had been fathered by another man.

Cheryl Vesperas, who attended the hearing, has filed for divorce.