Maui Man Sentenced for Murders of Mother, Aunt
Keoni Vinuya Tomas, 27, of Kahului was sentenced today to a maximum period of life in prison with the possibility of parole under a plea agreement reached in the death of his aunt and mother in Kahului on separate dates in 2015.
Vinuya Tomas had pleaded no contest in March to the two separate second degree murder charges.
The charges stem from the Jan. 2, 2015 death of his aunt, Gail Otsuka, 61, who was found dead within a bedroom at her Moloka‘i Akau Street home; and the March 9, 2015 death of Tomas’ mother, Kimberly Vinuya, 43, who was found deceased at her Makaliʻi Street home.
Both women suffered from multiple stab wounds according to the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carson Tani, saying “at times its very hard to get a grasp for what would drive the defendant to kill in this manner.”
Tani said Otsuka was stabbed in her head 26 times, twice in her neck, and suffered 18 wounds to her arms and upper torso as well as a stab wound that collapsed her lung. He said that while none of the wounds were fatal by themselves, he suspects that Otsuka did suffer because it was determined that she bled to death. Otsuka was the sister of Tomas’ grandmother, according to earlier statements from police.
Tani said that Kimberly Vinuya also sustained multiple stab wounds and noted that neighbors issued statements saying they heard her “moaning in pain.”
Vinuya Tomas was represented by court appointed attorneys Cary Virtue and Benjamin Summit.
Defense attorneys say there were three factors that led to the two cases before the court, describing Vinuya Tomas as “a man of modest intellectual capacity,” with an “early onset of schizophrenia,” and a history of “methamphetamine use.” The defense asked the court to take into account the factors mentioned and adopt the plea agreement.
The defense also noted that it was difficult for their client to comprehend what had happened, saying that during visits he would ask when his mother was going to visit him. When it was explained to the defendant that his mother is dead and that he is accused of killing her, “he seemed to collapse on himself and completely shut down… Each time the charges were described, it was new to him, and grieving would begin all over again,” according to the defense.
In handing down the sentence today, Maui Chief Judge Joseph Cardoza ordered that Vinuya Tomas serve concurrent terms of life in prison with the possibility of parole for the two counts of second degree murder, as well as one year for a third degree theft charge to be served concurrently, with credit given for his time served.
Vinyua Tomas was also ordered to pay a combined $6,296.82 in restitution for the two second degree murder counts, $305 in crime victim compensation fees for each of the two counts, and a single $500 DNA analysis fee. There was also a separate $55 fee imposed as a crime victim compensation fee for the theft charge.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Cardoza said that in light of the “tragic series of events,” it was “difficult to put into words to adequately resolve this in terms of conduct.”