Man receives 20-year sentence in deadly Chinatown beating

Local News

A man convicted in a 2014 beating death in Chinatown was sentenced Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Colette Garibaldi sentenced Michael Limjuco Abella to 20 years in prison for the death of Shelton Higa.

A state jury found Abella guilty of manslaughter in August.

Officials say Higa, 57, was the victim of two unprovoked attacks in Chinatown on July 17, 2014.

Witnesses said Higa was standing on the corner of Smith and Pauahi streets when Abella approached from behind, struck him on the head with a 40-ounce beer bottle and then left. According to court documents, police and Emergency Medical Services responded, but Higa refused treatment.

The same witnesses testified at trial that Abella later returned and punched Higa several times in the head.

According to documents, Higa positively identified Abella as his attacker before he was taken to The Queen’s Medical Center.

He then lapsed into a coma due to severe bleeding in his brain and died on July 29, 2014.

In court Wednesday, Abella said it was an accident.

“I didn’t mean to kill, uh, what do you call, I forgot his name. Yeah, the deceased person,” he said. “It was an accident. I didn’t mean to kill him.”

“There was no justification, no excuse for what he did,” said deputy prosecutor Adrian Dhakwha. “He just pummeled him, left, came back and went at it, maybe 20 minutes.”

Higa was the father of Matthew Higa, who threw 23-month-old Cyrus Belt from an overpass to his death on the H-1 Freeway in 2008.

Matthew Higa said he was high on crystal methamphetamine at the time, and didn’t know what he was doing when it happened. He is currently serving a 200-year minimum prison sentence.

Abella will get credit for time already served, about a year and a half.

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