Last Defendant Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Pali Golf Course Shootings
By Elliot Enoki
Chief United States District Judge Susan Oki Mollway today sentenced ETHAN MOTTA, also known as "Malu," age 40, to life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole, for his role in the shooting of three persons at the Pali Golf Course on January 7, 2004.
On March 20, 2009, a federal jury found MOTTA guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)(Count 1); Conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)(Count 2); Conspiracy to Operate an Illegal Gambling Business (Count 3); as well as three counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering activity (VICAR), which resulted in the deaths of two individuals and injuring a third individual.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to information produced in court, MOTTA was part of a criminal enterprise that was providing protection for illegal gambling rooms throughout Honolulu, Hawaii from 1999 to 2004.
MOTTA and codefendants Rodney Joseph, Jr. and Kevin Gonsalves met with members of a group with whom they had a dispute, resulting in two of the latter group being shot to death at the golf course meeting, and a third being shot in the face.
Chief District Judge Mollway had previously sentenced the other eight defendants to sentences ranging from probation to life imprisonment. Co-defendant Joseph was sentenced to life imprisonment on July 6, 2009, after being convicted by the same jury, and Gonsalves received a sentence of 27.5 years after pleading guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Honolulu Police Department, whose Criminal Intelligence Unit contributed substantially to the success of the investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas J. Brady.
Elliot Enoki is with the U.S. Department of Justice's United States Attorney, District of Hawaii office.
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