Jury preserves Stangel's chance at parole

Jury has 'no answer' for extended sentencing on 7 out of 8 convictions, including murder, attempted murder

 UPDATED 11:36 AM HST May 21, 2013
Toby Stangel
HONOLULU -

Shortly after their son's shooting spree, Mike Stangel remembers well the phone call that changed his family's life.

“Toby said this is devastating. He realized what he did back then and he still hurts for the families because their pain is still there,” said his father on Monday.

On Thursday, a jury convicted his son Toby on nine felony counts, for murdering Tammy Nguyen at a Kaimuki stop light, and for injuring two others in a 17-minute shooting spree two years ago.

On Monday, smiling to his family as he entered the court room, now convicted murderer Toby Stangel faced a jury again to determine if he'd stay behind bars forever.

“The fact at issue boils down to one thing: Is it possible or definite? Is there hope for Mr. Stangel or despair?” said defense attorney John Schum.

“Is it necessary for the protection of the public?” said prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto.

It's what the state set out to prove.

In 2004, Stangel pleaded no contest on one firearms charge.

There was no jail time, with a judge, releasing him from supervision a year early in 2008.

Three years later, he launched into drug and alcohol-soaked shooting spree.

“I think he deserves to be behind bars for the rest of his life,” said Nadamoto.

But on Monday, a jury could not decide if that should happen, ending with no answer for seven out of eight convictions.

“Of course we're disappointed, but we're glad that at least some people agreed that an extended term is necessary for the protection of the public,” said Nadamoto.

The jury did bump up one charge from 10 to 20 years, but leaving the hope his family wanted, that one day, he'll still have a chance at freedom.

“We love our son unconditionally. We know God's not done with him yet and we hope this phase can be put to rest,” said Mike Stangel.

He said his son is not only a changed man, but has finally become the son he always wanted.

Prosecutors said they will seek consecutive terms at Stangel's sentencing in August, which could ultimately keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.

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