Ex-cop, murderer up for parole
By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A former Big Island police sergeant serving a life sentence for the 1992 kidnapping and slaying of his wife testified Wednesday by video conference before the Hawaii Paroling Authority, a deputy state attorney general said.
The parole board is to reconsider the mandatory minimum terms on both convictions for Kenneth Wayne Mathison, but no decision was reached at Wednesday’s hearing in Honolulu, Deputy Attorney General Vince Kanemoto said Wednesday afternoon.
“The board wanted follow-up memoranda from myself and from defense attorney Richard Gronna. So I have two weeks. I have until Oct. 9 to submit mine to the board. And then, Mr. Gronna has until, I believe, Oct. 23. Then the board will make its final decision within a month of Oct. 23,” Kanemoto said. “We had to do this hearing because Mr. Mathison didn’t have (legal) counsel present at the July 15, 2009 hearing.”
The 62-year-old Mathison is incarcerated at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz. He was sentenced in 1996 to life in prison with the possibility of parole after being convicted in a jury trial of the murder of his wife, Yvonne. He was also sentenced to a concurrent 20-year prison term for her kidnapping.
Yvonne Mathison, who was a hostess at Ken’s House of Pancakes, died on Nov. 27, 1992, after being beaten with a pipe and run over by a van. Mathison, who was found cradling his wife’s bloodied body, said he accidentally ran his wife over with the family’s van.
The case took three years to go to trial, and the group Citizens for Justice alleged a police cover-up.
The case was prosecuted by the then-Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn, who said that Mathison killed his wife to collect a $500,000 insurance policy. The state’s star witness was noted forensic pathologist Henry Lee, who testified that blood spatter patterns proved that Yvonne Mathison’s death wasn’t accidental.
In 1996, the Hawaii Paroling Authority set Mathison’s minimum sentence at 25 years for the murder and 20 years for the kidnapping. That would have made him eligible for parole on Nov. 8, 2020, shortly before his 70th birthday.
At the 2009 hearing, the parole board set Mathison’s minimum prison terms at 90 years for the murder conviction and 20 years for the kidnapping conviction. The state argued that the minimum terms set in the 2009 hearing were correct and requested that the parole board leave them unchanged.
Gronna did not return a phone call seeking comment by press time.
Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune- herald.com.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.