Schnabel agrees to plea deal; sentenced to 10 years in prison

27-year-old man was originally sentenced to 20 years in prison

Published  6:56 PM HST Apr 16, 2013
Les Schnabel
HONOLULU -

In a tearful taped testimony, a grieving mother describes what she calls a nightmare, finding out here son's killer was free.

"All the horror and the disbelief from the call I got in April 2007 telling me my wonderful son was brain dead and on life support in a Hawaii hospital came rushing back," said Judy Wilson.

Wilson holds up pictures of her 34-year-old son Christopher Reuther who died after being hit in the face.

Less Schnabel, 27, punched Reuther for taking his picture at Nanakuli Beach Park in 2007.

Schnabel was found guilty in 2008 of manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

However, in 2012, the Hawaii Supreme Court overturned the case because of statements the prosecutor made during closing arguments and the 27-year-old man was set free.

"Words cannot express how sorry and remorseful I am in my actions that took place on that date," said Schnabel.

Schnabel was back in court on Tuesday, apologizing to the victim's family.

Reuther's mother fell ill and did not want to go through the heartache of another trial.  Instead, both sides agreed to a deal -- Schnabel pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree assault.

"I have hurt so many people and lives because of this situation.  I just wish I could take it back.  I would do anything to take it back," said Schnabel.

But, to Judge Michael Wilson, the apology was not enough.  He sentenced Schnabel to the maximum of 10 years in prison.

"I'm glad there will be closure for Judy and the family," said Julie Wallace, a family friend.

When asked if Wallace forgives Schnabel, she responded, "No."

Schnabel will get credit for the nearly four years he served and is not eligible for parole until eight years into his sentence.

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