After five years and three trials, a man convicted in a deadly Chinatown shooting has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Iosefa Pasene, 26, addressed the court during Wednesday’s sentencing.
His first trial for the 2009 murder of 35-year-old Joseph Peneueta ended in a mistrial. Then the jury came back deadlocked following last year’s re-trial.
Prosecutors went after him a third time, and in March, the jury found Pasene guilty of second-degree murder.
Despite the conviction, Pasene maintained his innocence.
“The prosecutor intentionally went out of his way to state his own opinions, things not in evidence and a lot of illegal and inflammatory and prejudicial things that I feel manipulated and mislead the jurors into wrongly convicting me,” Pasene said. “I was left no choice but to be portrayed as a monster killer which I’m not. I’m not responsible for Mr. Peneueta’s murder. I didn’t know him, I don’t know any of his loved ones, but I do have compassion for them.”
On March 28, 2009, authorities said Peneueta was shot multiple times by two men using a shotgun and an assault rifle at the intersection of River and Pauahi streets.
Prosecutors believed the shooting was over a “turf” war and witnesses told police they saw Peneueta and Pasene arguing on nearby Maunakea Street about a half hour before the shooting.
Pasene’s attorney says he will file an appeal Thursday over what he calls “severe misconduct” by the prosecutor throughout the third trial.
A second defendant, Zorro Rye, was found not guilty of murder in September 2013, during the second trial. He could, however, potentially face other charges in the case.