CRIME
01/09/2015 07:08 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2015

RJ Marsolo, 19, Sentenced For Beating Homeless Man To Death

A 19-year-old Hawaii man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for beating an 83-year-old homeless man to death.

RJ Marsolo, who was 18 years old at the time of the attack, admitted to fatally punching and kicking Marmeto "Eddie" Semana in Honolulu's Chinatown district on Dec. 3, 2013, according to KITV.

"I had too much to drink and it was an unfortunate situation," Marsolo, who spoke in Chuukese, explained in court with the help of an interpreter.

Marsolo was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of first-degree assault last October, the outlet notes.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Marsolo was drinking with friends at Beretania Community Park when he walked down a nearby street and encountered Semana. Witnesses told police the two spoke briefly before Marsolo punched the man. They said he continued to kick and punch Semana even after he fell to the ground.

Semana suffered severe head and facial injuries, according to Hawaii News Now. An ambulance was called about four hours later, and Semana was taken to Queen's Medical Center in critical condition. He died two days later.

As reports have noted, Hawaii has a protection law for victims of attack over the age of 60, so the 19-year-old will have to serve at least three years and four months behind bars before being eligible for parole.

The bottom line is he’s very sorry for what happened and he regrets it every day of his life,” Marsolo's attorney Myron Takemoto told KITV4. “And he’s going to pay for it for a very long time.”

Marsolo's sentencing was announced one day before another Hawaii homeless man was found severely beaten with a steel pipe.

A 59-year-old was discovered covered in blood and unable to speak at a homeless campsite on Oahu's North Shore, according to Hawaii News Now. Honolulu police and detectives are treating the case as an assault but may pursue a homicide investigation if the victim's injuries prove fatal.

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