More than four years after her death, the family of a popular Waianae High School teacher is finally seeing justice. The man accused of stabbing and killing Asa Yamashita, Tittleman Fauatea, was found guilty Thursday morning.
"I think we're all kind of relieved that this has finally come to some kind of fruition," said Bryan Yamashita, Asa's husband.
For Bryan Yamashita, it has been four painfully long years. And the judge's decision helped him find closure.
"At this time, the court finds you, Mr. Fauatea, guilty as charged of the offense of murder in the second degree," said Circuit Court judge Rom Trader.
It was February 2009 when Asa was attacked and killed as she sat on a bench at the Ewa Town Center while she waited for her husband to pick her up.
Court documents say Fauatea bought a foot-long kitchen knife from the Longs Drugs at the shopping center, walked to the Ewa Seed Company, unwrapped the newly-purchased knife and repeatedly stabbed her.
"His actions during the stabbing in this court's view was highly focused, specific and certainly very effective," said Judge Trader.
Fauatea has a long history of mental illness and Judge Trader said although mental health experts all agreed he was suffering from a serious psychotic episode that day, his actions prove his insanity did not substantially impair his judgement.
The judge pointed out what Fauatea said to the first police officer who approached him after the stabbing. Fautea said, "I don't have anything. I dumped the knife."
In fact, the judge said more than one mental health expert believed Fauatea was exaggerating his mental illness to make it appear worse than it was. For that, he will now be serving time in jail, not a state hospital.
"The main thing we want everyone to know is this man cannot come out and do this to anyone else again and put any other family what he put us through," said Rae Shimabukuro, Asa Yamashita's sister.
Fauatea faces mandatory life in prison when he is sentenced in June.