BY JIM DOOLEY – William K. “Willie” Medeiros Jr., locked up for the past 40 years for
a ghastly 1970 murder, was denied parole today after a prosecutor reviewed his “extensive criminal history” that includes his alleged involvement in two other homicides and two 1970 bank robberies.
Medeiros, 65, was originally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering Mitzi Iso Klotzbach, 18, in December 1970.
Medeiros shot Klotzbach in the head and buried her in a sandy Waianae beach grave because she was a witness to the November 1970 murder of Charles Akana, according to court records and news accounts.
Klotzbach’s body was exhumed on Christmas Eve 1970 after witnesses cooperated with police.
Medeiros was charged with murdering Akana and another witness to that homicide, Herman Marfil, but those cases were not pursued after he pleaded guilty to the Klotzbach killing and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Medeiros sought several times to be considered for parole after a new penal code in was enacted in 1972 that reclassified his crime to second degree murder, punishable by a maximum sentence of life with the possibility of parole.
Defense attorney Earle Partington petitioned the court in 2000 to reclassify Medeiros’s original sentence, arguing that the defendant never received a full hearing on his earlier requests for parole consideration.
Circuit Judge Michael Town granted the request and resentenced Medeiros to life with the possibility of parole.
“He obviously isn’t the same man now that he was back then,” said Partington this week.
“He has spent almost his entire adult life in prison. He seemed very quite and reserved and, if I remember, was genuinely remorseful,” said Partington, who was not involved in today’s parole hearing.
After Medeiros won the right to a parole hearing, the Hawaii Paroling Authority determined that he must serve a minimum of 40 years behind bars before being considered for release.
Medeiros is now confined at a federal prison facility in Louisiana and appeared at the parole hearing via a videoconference connection to the Federal Detention Center near Honolulu International Airport.
U.S. Bureau of Prisons officials refused to allow news reporters to attend today’s hearing.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa argued against parole for Medeiros.
“His extensive criminal history really mandated that he not be released on parole,” Futa said after the hearing.
Medeiros “declined to have an attorney present” at the hearing, said Futa.
No one else spoke at the hearing except Medeiros, Futa said.
“He did speak on his own behalf and basically said he can’t deny that some of those things that I reiterated about his history were true,” Futa said.
But Medeiros argued that his history “had already been considered by the parole board when they set the 40-year minimum,” said Futa.
The Paroling Authority denied Medeiros’ request for parole.
And Futa said that even if Medeiros is ever released from state custody, he faces another eight-year federal prison sentence for “two bank robberies in 1970.”