A convicted murderer will spend life behind bars without the possibility of parole for strangling an elderly woman.
Gerald Austin was sentenced in the cold case which happened at a Honolulu senior housing complex 25 years ago.
"I do feel for him as well as Ms. Skinner. She never deserved any of this to happen to her," said Gerald Austin.
Austin uttered these words hoping it would mean a lighter sentence, but an Oahu jury convicted the 54-year-old of second degree murder for the death.
Edith skinner died in her Kalakaua Apartment in 1989.
Austin's 20 years of roaming free ended due to improvements in forensic technology.
"It all began with a perceptive medical examiner who 25 years ago noticed the hair which led her to look for other forensic evidence," said Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bell. "Decades after the fact, Mr. Austin would have to give a DNA sample because he's a convicted felon and it just so happened – running a computer check – that his DNA matched the DNA found on Ms. Skinner all of those years ago."
The mandatory sentence for second degree murder is life with the possibility of parole. But, because he preyed on the elderly and was believed to be a threat to society, the prosecution recommended a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutor Scott Bell read an impact statement from the victim's son, Steven Skinner, Wednesday who agreed with the stricter punishment:
"All of this was ripped from her by this animal who deserves to suffer the rest of his miserable life in a cell, preferably away from Hawaii, like Arizona. He doesn't deserve to be a part of anything in Hawaii."
However, Austin's defense attorney pushed for life with parole and denied his client even committed the crime.
"We believe beyond the DNA evidence that links Mr. Austin to the offense, there's absolutely no evidence to prove or show that he is the one who committed the murder because he did not commit the murder in this case," said Ed Aquino, Austin's Defense Attorney.
But the judge didn't buy it.
Judge Colette Gariabaldi sentenced Austin to life without parole and forced him to pay the family back for funeral expenses.