In a Hilo courtroom, a judge approved the plea agreement between Jaylin Kema and prosecutors.
Her sentence for pleading guilty to manslaughter includes 10 years probation on top of the one year she’s already served in jail.
She had also agreed to testify against her husband, Peter Kema Sr., if he ever went to trial, but he reached his own deal with prosecutors.
In 1997, “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. disappeared on Hawaii island. He was six years old.
Kema broke down in tears during her sentencing, and admitted she should have done more to protect her children from abuse, especially Peter Boy.
She said she should have told the truth when her youngest child disappeared 20 years ago.
“My health problems in my everyday life are difficult, but nothing as compared to the pain that Peter Boy endured while I did nothing,” she said.
Kema offered a tearful apology in court and tried to reach out to her family, none of whom showed up during the hearing.
Still, she’s holding out hope that they can forgive her someday, and she can regain some type of connection with her family.
“I will always know the bad I have done, and I pray that one day my family will be able to forgive me enough that I can have a positive relationship,” she said.
As part of her plea agreement, Kema is not allowed to contact her three adult children and her father, but prosecutors tell us Kema’s oldest daughter, Chauntelle Acol, tried to reach out to her after she was released from jail in April.
“She doesn’t know this, but I know that her daughter made some efforts on her behalf to get her some transitional housing,” said deputy prosecutor Rick Damerville.
The door is open for reconciliation. As part of the plea deal, if the family agrees to it, Kema can contact family members through her probation officer.
The judge agreed to the terms of the plea deal, but also chastised Kema for not doing more to protect her children.
“What’s been difficult for the court to understand is how you as a mother did not protect or seek medical help for your children, specifically Peter Boy,” said Judge Henry Nakamoto. “If you weren’t there to protect him, no one was there for him, and that is very difficult for the court to understand.”
Kema is scheduled to make another court appearance in one year. The judge wants to make sure she has complied with all the rules of her probation, and see if she’s able to pay more than $16,000 in restitution and court costs.