New Sentence in 2013 Molokai Murder Case
By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter
On March 14, a judge sentenced Marlin Lavoie, of Molokai, to a 40-year prison term during a re-trial for the fatal shooting of Malia Kahalewai in 2013.
Eight years ago, Lavoie was initially sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, plus 20 years, following his jury conviction of second-degree murder and three firearms charges in 2015. However, Lavoie appealed the convictions, and the state Supreme Court sent the case for re-trial, with the court’s ruling that testimony regarding five previous domestic violence acts by Lavoie shouldn’t have been permitted at the trial, according to The Maui News.
In his retrial last year, Lavoie plead guilty to reduced charges of manslaughter based on extreme mental or emotional distress, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, The Maui News reported. Two weeks ago, a Second Circuit court judge sentenced Lavoie to a total of 40 years, with 10 years credited for time served.
The sentencing came almost exactly 10 years after Lavoie’s murder of 24-year-old Kahalewai.
Lavoie and Kahalewai had a history of domestic disputes and had separated several days prior to the shooting. On March 20, 2013, Lavoie followed Kahalewai to a friend’s home. After an argument, Lavoie retrieved a hunting rifle from his car and fired a single shot at Kahalewai, who was sitting with friends and their child.
Friends and family honor and remember Kahalewai this month, and are still trying to cope with the effects of what happened that day.
Executive Director of Molokai Community Service Council Karen Holt highlighted resources for both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse available to the Molokai community. These resources include Hale Ho’omalu Domestic Violence Shelter, providing free, safe housing for adults and keiki, a 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, and Molokai Alternatives to Violence, which assists in providing restraining orders, anger management classes and support groups for victims.
Holt also explained that substance abuse plays a major role in domestic violence.
“One thing that is a factor in the majority of domestic violence cases, and also in cases of child abuse and neglect, is crystal meth. It’s an epidemic here on Molokai, and there are no easy solutions to this problem…This drug is destroying families, and it’s very hard to quit,” said Holt, via email.
Molokai’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline can be reached by texting or calling 808-567-6888.