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Teen sentenced in 2016 Kona rape case

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today Tyron Sigrah looks back at his family after being sentenced Tuesday.

KEALAKEKUA — A 17-year-old boy was sentenced Tuesday to up to 20 years in prison for the September 2016 rape of a woman at Old Kona Airport Park.

Tyron Sigrah was sentenced in Kona Circuit Court for first-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault, kidnapping and second-degree robbery. The sentences will be served concurrently and the minimum prison sentence will be determined by the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

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Sigrah stood with a bowed head as the victim approached the court to make a statement prior to the teen’s sentencing.

“This was a very, very heinous crime,” the woman stated. “I thought I was gonna die. They were suffocating me with a towel.”

Sigrah was one of two teens reportedly involved in the Sept. 3, 2016, attack at the park’s soccer field, just north of the Kona Community Aquatics Center.

The second suspect was identified in January as Samuel Latrik after a grand jury indicted the 18-year-old. Prosecutors said Sigrah, who was 15 at the time, and Latrik, who was 17 at the time, detained the woman against her will, beat her and took turns raping her. The attack only stopped after a passing good Samaritan chased the boys off.

The victim was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where she was treated for a broken nose, an exacerbated back injury and badly bruised ribs.

The woman told the court that she thought what Sigrah and the second suspect did to her was “absolutely heinous.” It is West Hawaii Today’s policy to not identify victims of sexual assault.

The victim stated she was living in Hawaii, building a business when the attack happened.

“I do not feel they can be rehabilitated,” she said about the two defendants. “I know they’re young, but attacking a stranger, they’re not your normal teenage boys.”

“What happened to you should have never happened to anyone,” said Judge Robert D.S. Kim. “As long as I wear this robe, I will make sure it doesn’t.”

In return for Sigrah’s guilty plea, the state dismissed four remaining sexual assault and terroristic threatening charges. According to the plea agreement, the teen was allowed to argue for youthful offender status, which allows an incarceration period of eight years instead of 20 years.

Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Lawson told the court the plea agreement includes the prosecutor’s office not making statements to the Hawaii Paroling Authority. However, she did argue against the request for youthful offender status.

She told Kim that the facts speak for themselves and it doesn’t preclude the victim from speaking to the Hawaii Paroling Authority, and her voice is the one that matters.

“What we have in this case is a danger to the community,” Lawson said.

Lawson added there’s been no effort on Sigrah’s part for rehabilitation as he’s continued to drink and do drugs while out on bail.

Deputy Public Defender Wendy DeWeese argued for the youthful offender sentence.

“Today, the court is going to send a child to prison,” she said.

Kim reminded DeWeese about the victim.

“The victim is going to suffer the sheer savagery of this attack for the rest of her life,” Kim said. “This is not children. This is beyond child’s play.”

DeWeese did not disagree but pointed out that at this point, there was nothing more her client could do for the victim.

“The only thing he could do was plead guilty,” said DeWeese, who asked the court to give that consideration. “He did show a lot of maturity in that decision.”

While he hasn’t led a perfect life in two years, DeWeese said, Sigrah has shown he can show restraint. She asked that her client receive specialized treatment.

“Prison is going to be a terrible place for him no matter what,” she said.

After listening to the attorneys and victim, Kim said the case was sad on multiple levels.

“This, in my career, is the worst crime perpetrated on a young person,” he said.

Kim also spoke directly to Sigrah, who didn’t speak in court. The judge told the teen that no matter what, he’s going to get out of prison one day. But when he’s in his cell, Kim advised Sigrah to think about the victim and the personal prison she now lives in every day.

Outside the courtroom, the victim said she was happy with the sentencing.

“I’m a very strong person,” she said. “I won’t stand for abuse or heinous crimes.”

The victim and her family continue to move forward toward healing.

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“I’d like to see her play music again and get beyond the daily reminder of pain,” the victim’s father said outside the courtroom.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.