By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
The ex-husband of a 55-year-old Panaewa woman shot numerous times on Mother’s Day said she begged the alleged attacker, her ex-boyfriend, for her life.
At a preliminary hearing on Friday morning in Hilo District Court, Francis Makaiwi, June Shirshac’s ex-husband, described his ex-wife as a “good friend.” He testified that 72-year-old Joseph Amormino Sr. of Hawaiian Beaches came to his home at 1197 Auwae Road — where Shirshac also lived — early Sunday evening, to confront Shirshac, who had broken off the relationship with Amormino two days earlier.
“June told me go call 911. She said, ‘He has a gun,’” Makaiwi recalled.
Makaiwi said he ran to his bedroom, locked the door and the door of an adjacent bathroom and called 911. He said he then heard numerous gunshots.
“What else did you hear?” asked Deputy Prosecutor Dakota Frenz.
“She was beggin’ for her kine life. She tell him she still love him,” the 63-year-old Makaiwi replied.
Makaiwi said that Amormino then came to his room.
“He called my name, Francis, Francis, then he start shooting my door.”
Makaiwi, who was uninjured, said Amormino shot his door “four or five times.”
Shirshac, a greeter at the Hilo Walmart store, was shot multiple times, police said. She is hospitalized at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu and is expected stay there about another two months, according to Honolulu Police Sgt. Nancy De Foster, who interviewed Shirshac in the hospital. De Foster said Shirshac told her the conflict with Amormino started Friday evening on a return flight to Honolulu from Atlanta.
“She said … Joseph was intoxicated on the flight and they were arguing, and he put his hands on her. She didn’t specify exactly what he did, but she told him she can’t be with a man that’s going to physically abuse her, so she stated that she wanted to end the relationship,” De Foster testified.
According to De Foster, Shirshac said she curled up in a fetal position after being shot and Amormino then kicked her repeatly to the midsection.
She said Shirshac told her Amormino said, “You’re not going to die; you’re just not going to walk again.”
De Foster said that according to Shirshac, Amormino then called 911 and told the dispatcher that he had just shot someone. In response to a question from the 911 operator, Amormino allegedly replied: “You know where I am.”
When police arrived to arrest Amormino, they found a .357-caliber revolver and a .38-caliber revolver and two speed loaders with ammunition, according to court documents.
De Foster said Shirshac told her Amormino had made a previous visit to the Panaewa home on Sunday morning to retrieve a television set and jewelry that he had given Shirshac, but she told him she was getting ready for work and couldn’t give him the items at that time.
“She said that he was very irate and he left in his vehicle and almost hit another vehicle as he was leaving,” De Foster recalled.
Amormino’s son, Joseph Jr., said that his father stopped by Amormino Jr.’s house in Hawaiian Beaches at about 4:50 p.m. on Sunday. The younger Amormino said he awoke from a nap and went out to the driveway to talk to his dad, who remained in his red pickup truck. He said that his dad was angry and smelled of alcohol and talked about Shirshac.
“He mentioned June and the money that she owed him,” the younger Amormino said. “She said she didn’t have it and something to the effect of ‘what are you going to do about it?’ That kind of thing.”
Amormino Jr. said his father then told Shirshac: “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’ll take out your leg, and then your other leg. And then your shoulder, and then your other shoulder.”
“I didn’t think nothin’ of it at the time, because it’s from ‘The Godfather,’” Amormino Jr. said.
Amormino Sr.’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa, asked Amormino Jr. if his father had said he was going to kill or cause the death of Shirshac.
“Absolutely not,” Amormino Jr. replied.
Amormino Sr., a retired Hawaii Community Correctional Facility adult corrections officer, sat silently during the proceedings, wearing an orange jumpsuit with “HCCC INMATE” stenciled on the back. The only time he spoke was to answer questions by Judge Harry Freitas when the discussion turned to possible conditions of release should he be able to make his $656,000 bail.
The preliminary hearing will continue Friday, May 25, at 10 a.m. in courtroom 2B. Prosecutors are attempting to establish that probable cause exists to try Amormino Sr. for first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, burglary, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, three other firearms offenses and three counts of terroristic threatening. The terroristic threatening charges stem from a reported road rage incident late Sunday afternoon in which Amormino allegedly tailgated a Mountain View family then pointed a pistol at them on Highway 130 while en route from Hawaiian Beaches to Panaewa.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.