LIHUE — While the mother of a victim took to the podium Thursday during the sentencing of the man who fatally stabbed her son, another mother wept in the gallery.
“As far as this person, who murdered my son, he has caused my family, myself, my husband, his children, his sisters, his whole family disruption,” said Teresa Belmes-Allianic, mother of 38-year-old Gary Allen Allianic. “I believe that my son would have lived a long life. He has not been able to enjoy his children or his children him.”
Chief Judge Randal Valenciano sentenced 38-year-old Francisco Keola Manuel of Lihue to 20 years in prison. He will serve out his term in Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu.
The Fifth Circuit courtroom was filled with friends, family and supporters, many in tears, who watched the conclusion of the nearly year-long case.
On Sept. 26, 2015, Allianic was found stabbed to death behind the Garden Island Barbecue parking lot, according to reports.
Police officers found Manuel, suspected of the slaying, later that day by the Historic County Building. As they approached him, Manuel ran, but was captured by Capt. Bryson Ponce.
In the following weeks, a preliminary hearing for Manuel revealed that he and his pregnant girlfriend Jasmine Duque had decided to meet up after she partied at Rob’s Good Times Grill with friends, according to court testimony.
“Jasmine had for a time dated Gary Allianic, who lived nearby and was apparently aware that Jasmine was in the area,” Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar told the court Thursday. “Allianic left his residence and followed Jasmine to the area behind the restaurant. Once there, a confrontation ensued between Allianic and the defendant. During that altercation, the defendant took out a knife and stabbed Gary Allianic seven times.”
During that fight, Manuel also stabbed Duque who had jumped in between the two, Kollar said.
The doctor who conducted the autopsy said Allianic might have survived had he been rushed to the hospital, but neither Duque nor Manuel called 911 to report the stabbing, according to court testimony. Instead, the two fled: one to the hospital and the other to hide, according to police reports.
Manuel was later charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault.
Gary Allianic Sr. told The Garden Island Thursday he wished Manuel had received a longer sentence. Belmes-Allianic said she questioned the paternity of Duque’s baby.
Duque, who is serving a sentence for a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge, was brought to the court by sheriffs and allowed to address the court. She asked for mercy on Manuel and said he was acting in self-defense to protect himself, the unborn baby and Duque on the night he stabbed Allianic.
Defense Attorney Emmanuel Guerrero Thursday called the incident “a perfect storm” that led to the death of Allianic and said his client took responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to manslaughter.
“It was tragic. It should not have happened. He knows that what happened cannot be undone,” Guerrero said. “Upon reflection of what occurred, Manuel reached out and said, ‘I did what I did.’”
Before his sentencing, Manuel addressed the court.
“I just want to say I’m sorry for the crime that I committed,” Manuel said. “I’m sorry to the family. I made my peace with the man above and asked my family for forgiveness. My mom brought me up right. I chose the wrong decision. I ask for forgiveness. I regret what I did.”
Valenciano told Manuel he had multiple options at the time, including walking away, but had chosen options which led to him to court.
“You have to bear the consequences of your actions because the consequences of the victim’s family are severe,” Valenciano said. “They lost someone. You have to understand that.”
For count one, manslaughter, Valenciano sentenced Manuel to 20 years behind bars and for count two, second-degree assault, Valenciano sentenced Manuel to five years in prison. The terms will run concurrent.
Valenciano also ordered Manuel to pay $2,239.57 to Gary Allianic Sr. and $6,410.27 to the Department of Human Services.
“No mother should ever have to bury a child, and no mother should ever have their child taken away from them like this,” Kollar told The Garden Island. “I’m personally satisfied that Manuel saw the writing on the wall and accepted a sentence that will put him behind bars for many years to come. Our thoughts continue to be with those touched by this senseless criminal act.”
Manuel’s priors include three convictions of unauthorized entry into motor vehicle, class C felonies and two third-degree assaults, misdemeanors.
Kollar said the next step is attending minimum term hearings before the Hawaii Paroling Authority.
“We’re going to take the victim’s families to all the parole hearings,” Kollar said. “So that he can spend as much as time behind bars as possible. I just want Teresa and her family to move forward from this.”
Police Chief Darryl Perry commended Detective Anthony Morita for apprehending the suspect in less than 24 hours after the crime in September.
“This does not reverse the crime Manuel committed, but we hope it will bring some closure to the victim’s family and loved ones,” he said.