Man sentenced for murder of Makiki woman, addresses victim’s family in court

Vernon Baker

The man who pleaded guilty to murdering a Makiki woman four years ago was sentenced Wednesday.

Vernon Baker was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for stabbing Mary Beth San Juan to death in 2013.

Her body was found wrapped in carpet on the driveway of her Punahou Street home.

Baker was arrested a few days later and initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea in February.

Baker broke down as he spoke in court: “I have no right. I can’t apologize. I can’t. I can try, but I can’t. There’s no possible thing I can do or say that can make this right.

“I think the family would want an explanation to try to understand, and I’m trying to come to understand how I could possibly do something like this,” he continued. “I don’t deserve to live. The sentence I have is nothing.”

Alberto San Juan, the victim’s ex-husband, was in the courtroom and spoke to KHON2 after the sentencing.

“I don’t understand how he could do this to somebody who’s as beautiful as Mary Beth, who’s always been nice to people. I just didn’t understand that,” he said. “I just hope nobody has to go through something like this ever.”

The Hawaii Paroling Authority will determine how much of his life sentence Baker must serve before he’s eligible for parole.

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