LIHUE — A man who sexually assaulted two women and a female child in December was sentenced to 35 years in prison in Fifth Circuit Court Wednesday.
Jesse Korn, 27, formerly of Koloa, stood emotionless before Judge Kathleen Watanabe as she handed down the sentence to serve consecutive 20-, 10- and five-year prison sentences in two separate cases.
He’ll be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and was also ordered to pay restitution.
“Let me say Mr. Korn that there were statements made on the record on your behalf this morning that I find to be rather ironic, or egregious, depending on how you look at it,” she said.
She continued: “Statements like you’re ‘a very polite person.’ Statements like ‘you were humiliated because of what you’ve gone through and what you’ve been charged with and pled to,’ and statements like you ‘were glad that nobody was hurt more.’ Statements that you’re ‘actually a very nice guy’ and that the drugs made you do this and you ‘don’t remember anything that happened,’” she said.
During sentencing, Korn’s attorney John Murphy told the court his client was smoking methamphetamine the day of the attack and given a black substance he wasn’t familiar with, but smoked it anyway, and that combination of drugs caused him to have no memory of what happened the day of the assaults.
Korn has a history of blacking out due to heavy drinking and drug abuse, and Watanabe said she thought it was convenient that Korn didn’t remember anything about the attacks, stating the victims’ wish they could forget about his violence and acts against them.
“I’m glad you think that life is good with you being in prison and while it’s completely up to the Department of Safety as to where you’re housed, the sentence that I’m going to pass to you in several minutes, I hope you don’t expect to be serving down the street in KCCC,” she said.
On Dec. 10, 2017, Korn, a Marshallese citizen, unlawfully entered three residences in the Kawailehua state and federal affordable rental housing complex in Koloa. In one home, he repeatedly raped a mother, whose young child was in the next room for hours. In another home, he used furniture to block the door so his victim couldn’t escape, and in another home he raped a child.
The events of that evening resulted in an extensive manhunt that lasted into the following evening, when Korn turned himself in to authorities.
On behalf of one of the victims who didn’t want to be named for the record, Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like read a detailed and horrific account of what occurred that night.
“This encounter was worse than any nightmare. I’m traumatized. I will never forget what happened. My life was going good until a stranger came in and devastated everything. I’ll never be the same again. He should be put away as long as possible so he doesn’t hurt any other innocent people,” the victim said.
The victim described how her young daughter was in a bedroom in the apartment during the attack and that she begged her to stay in her room because mommy was being attacked by the Bogeyman.
The victim, Like told the court, now suffers from flashbacks, had to leave her home, and is afraid to do things she used to enjoy doing because she doesn’t like to be alone.
The state asserts that 35 years is the appropriate sentence for Korn. The facts in this case are unique, Like said.
“Korn also has recent misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor convictions including violent convictions for assault in the third degree and abuse of a family or household member,” she said.
Like told the court Korn doesn’t show remorse for these crimes, and the maximum sentence will help make the community feel safer.
During the sentencing, Korn apologized for his actions, telling the court that his life is good now that he’s in prison.
Murphy asked the court to consider a 20-year sentence for his client.
“Mr. Korn started apologizing and taking responsibility for his actions,” he said.
The drugs he took in his words caused him to black out, Murphy said.
“He’s humiliated. He’s very apologetic. He’s very sorry. Saying he doesn’t have any remorse is simply not accurate,” Murphy said.
The fact that Korn had done drugs the day of the assaults is not an excuse, nor a factor in litigation. It is an undisputed fact before the court, he said.
“So I’m asking the court for 20 years and hopefully the victims can recover and move on with their lives much more quickly than Mr. Korn can do in prison even if you give him 20,” he said.
Korn had previously pleaded no contest to sexual assault in the first degree, kidnapping, sexual assault in the second degree and sexual assault in the third degree.
Unrelated charges include five contempt of court charges from 2017 with two convictions, a family abuse charge in 2016 that resulted in a conviction, three contempt of court charges in 2016 with two convictions, DUI and marijuana charges in 2015 and a conviction for the DUI charge, a driving without a licence charge, refusal to submit to testing and inattention to driving charges in 2015 (within the same DUI case), and assault and harassment charges in 2015 with a conviction on the assault, and another contempt of court charge in 2015.
Korn’s parents watched as their son was sentenced.
Bethany Freudenthal, crime, courts and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.