REPORT FROM KAUAI PROSECUTING ATTORNEY – The Hawai‘i Paroling Authority (HPA) today revoked the parole of convicted DUI killer, Kenneth Richard Leigh. Leigh, 50, a chronic DUI offender, had numerous DUI convictions in the State of New Jersey, prior to moving to Kauai.
Around midnight on February 22, 1994, a KPD officer parked southbound on Kuhio Highway observed a vehicle speeding northbound at 80 mph. As the officer negotiated a U-turn to stop the vehicle, he witnessed the driver lose control of his car, climb the guard rail, and strike a telephone pole. A mandatory blood draw resulted in a blood alcohol content of .13.
Leigh, the driver, and a male passenger received minor lacerations from the accident. Another male passenger suffered permanent spinal injuries, and two female passengers died as a result of the impact.
On August 24, 1994, a jury convicted Leigh of two counts of Negligent Homicide in the First Degree, Negligent Injury in the First Degree, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, No No-Fault Insurance and Speeding. He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by Fifth Circuit Court Judge George Masuoka.
Leigh was paroled on April 4, 2007 to the State of Maryland where his parents reside. His license was revoked in New Jersey for three separate DUI convictions in the 1980’s, was administratively revoked on Oahu in 1993 for a DUI conviction, and subsequently on Kauai in 1994 as a result of this incident.
He was arrested four years later for a new DUI on May 6, 2011 with a blood alcohol level of .19. He was sentenced on October 20, 2011 to one year imprisonment.
After serving his jail term in Maryland, the Defendant was extradited back to Hawaii to face his parole revocation hearing. Leigh admitted to violating his term of parole by committing the DUI offense.
Leigh, represented by Deputy Public Defender John Ikenaga, requested that he be paroled back to Maryland to reside with his mother. He claimed that on the date of the most recent DUI, he had gone to dinner at a friend’s house and drank punch, which he “didn’t know” was spiked. He maintained that he didn’t feel “right” but got in a car, drove and was arrested for DUI.
The State, represented by Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, submitted letters from family members of the victims to the HPA demanding that Leigh serve the rest of his sentence. A sister of one of the victims wrote, “Kenneth was generously given yet another chance to be a productive member of society. Disappointingly, he has once again behaved irresponsibly and dangerously. Kenneth Leigh’s history, in addition to his most recent violation, indicates that he is a danger. Please do not allow him to hurt anyone else!”
“It is heart wrenching that the Defendant showed no remorse for the victims, the ones he killed and injured on that horrible night,“ said Prosecutor Iseri-Carvalho, “What is worse, is that while the Defendant was allowed to be free, the families of the victims continued to and still to this day, suffer a lifetime sentence of emotional pain, trauma and depression because of the loss of their loved ones. He cannot ever be released safely.”