Suspects accused of robbing a 90-year-old woman at her home on Maui could face murder charges after the victim died from her injuries.
Prosecutors say at least one of the suspects could also face stiffer penalties for attacking an elderly victim.
Maui Police tell us that the victim, 90-year-old Jacqueline Oberheim was inside her Harbor Lights Condominium in Kahului, when she was attacked while sleeping on June 22 at 3:30 p.m. She suffered life threatening injuries and three suspects were arrested before she died.
Thirty-five-year-old Lewellyn Foster was charged with Assault, Robbery, and Burglary. Twenty-six-year-old Aaron Wilsey was charged with Robbery, Burglary, and Theft. Twenty-nine-year-old Chery Moniz was charged with Burglary.
Because the victim died, Maui Police say the case has been reclassified as second degree murder.
Legal expert Doug Chin points out that the victim’s death is not enough to file a murder charge.
“It’s not just that the person passed away because of the injury. It’s also that the suspect at the time they were committing the assault, that they intended to cause the death of this person,” Chin said.
Maui prosecutors say they are looking to apply enhanced sentencing for Foster. This applies when victims are elderly, children, or law enforcement officers, and normally doubles the sentence. In this case, prosecutors would have to show proof that Foster knew that the victim was over 60 years old.
“It’s also that you committed a crime and you knew in your mind that this person was more than 60, either because they said something like that or because their appearance made it so obvious that they were more than 60,” said Chin.
Records also show that Foster and Wilsey have a criminal past. Twenty-six convictions for Foster, which include burglary, theft, and animal cruelty. Sixteen convictions for Wilsey, which include car theft, promoting drugs, and arson.
All three suspects remain in custody. Wilsey’s detention hearing was continued Tuesday because his attorney was not present, so it has been rescheduled for next week.