Raita Fukusaku maintains he was an accomplice, not a killer
Defense ties 20 year old bizarre case to Japanese mafia
"It's my responsibility. It is the biggest mistake of my whole life," said Raita Fukusaku, more than 4,000 miles away in Saguaro Prison in Arizona.
Fukusaku looked heavier, older, and said he was remorseful for what happened 20 years ago.
"I didn't kill my friend and his mother, but what I did was I didn't stop them and I couldn't save them," he said.
Fukusaku was convicted in the 1994 murders of a famous Japanese psychic and her son.
Kototome Fujita was found shot and beaten in her burned out Ala Moana penthouse.
Her son Goro was found shot in his torched car near the Honolulu Zoo.
Raita Fukusaku was sentenced to 40 years for their murders.
"This is cruel, callous and calculated from its inception the end," said Senior Honolulu Prosecutor Darrell Wong.
At his trial, prosecutors said surveillance video from an elevator at Discovery Bay in Waikiki showed Fukusaku removing Goro's body in a bag.
But years after his double-murder conviction, attorneys have been fighting over whether Fukusaku was the really killer, or an accomplice, whose family was being threatened by the Japanese mafia.
"Don't extract assassin time for what was fall guy behavior," said his attorney Gary Modafferi.
At a minimum sentence hearing on Monday, prosecutors asked to raise the minimum sentence to keep Fukusaku in prison for decades longer.
His defense believed it should be reduced enough, to get him out now, so Fukusaku can return to a family that's already been destroyed.
"Mr. Fukusaku made it very clear that he has great remorse for the loss of his friend and his friend's mother, but he also made it clear he was the intended victim of an essentially organized crime hit," said his attorney Myles Breiner.
"Every single day I think about them. I think about my father. I think about my 82-year-old mother who lost everything, her home, her house, and the only thing she has is myself," said Fukusaku.
City prosecutors have been frustrated by a previous deal with the attorney general that prevents the parole board from raising Fukusaku's minimum sentence.
But the Hawaii Paroling Authority does have the authority to reduce his minimum sentence.
If they do, Fukusaku could be paroled within a few months.
Chair Bert Matsuoka said the board will mail Fukusaku their decision in two weeks.
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