Records: Man charged with attacking elderly woman in her home had murder conviction overturned
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Court records show the 32-year-old suspect in a brutal home invasion this week was sentenced in 2011 to life behind bars for the fatal stabbing of his neighbor.
But Takson Krstoth became a free man a year ago after his murder conviction was overturned and he served time for a lesser charge. Krstoth is now accused of attacking a 77-year-old woman in her Mililani home on Monday night.
He remains behind bars on $100,000 bail.
Court records show the state Supreme Court overturned Krstoth’s murder conviction in a case that hinged on a language barrier. The high court ruled a judge didn’t do enough to make sure Krstoth understood the rights that he was giving up when he pleaded guilty to killing his neighbor.
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The crime happened in Kalihi on Sept. 10, 2011.
Officers captured Krstoth just minutes after the fatal stabbing of his neighbor at Mayor Wright Homes.
Records show the then 21-year-old pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. But he later withdrew that confession.
And in 2016, the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
“In the defendant’s first murder case, he did not speak English. He didn’t read or write. He was represented by a public defender who utilized a Chuukese interpreter,” said legal expert and defense attorney Victor Bakke.
“They worked a plea negotiation with the city Prosecutor’s Office. The problem is, he was never on board with it.”
Bakke says at that point it was incumbent on the Prosecutor’s Office to allow him withdraw his plea and go to trial.
“Instead, they sat back and took no position,” he said.
After the high court reversed Krstoth’s conviction, “The Prosecutor’s Office ended up having a much harder time prosecuting. And instead of trying him on murder they ended up cutting a deal to assault,” Bakke said.
In a statement, the state Department of Public Safety says Krstoth was released from Halawa Correctional Facility in September 2021 after completing his full 10-year sentence. Now, he’s the suspect in another violent attack.
On Monday, Krstoth allegedly broke into a house on Awiki Street. He’s accused beating a 77-year-old woman and throwing her down the stairs of her Mililani home.
Minutes prior, he’s believed to have broken into another home next door.
John McCarthy, retired HPD deputy chief, called the sequence of events “disgusting.”
He added too often innocent people are being hurt at the hands of repeat offenders.
“It’s frustrating for the police. It’s frustrating for the prosecutors. And it must be terrifying for the public that this happens all the time,” McCarthy said.
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