WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A judge has sentenced a Maui man to life in prison after he fatally slit his estranged wife’s throat in a supermarket and injured two men who tried to help her.
Second Circuit Court Judge Peter Cahill said Thursday the parole board will determine how much prison time Stephen Schmidt, 48, must serve before being eligible for parole. He recommended Schmidt serve a minimum of 100 years.
Schmidt pleaded no contest to the second-degree murder of Kehau Farias, a 24-year-old who worked in the YMCA child care program at Puu Kukui Elementary School.
Cahill said Schmidt “should be required to serve every single day of the life that she lost.”
Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin said Schmidt called Farias’ aunt looking for her the day of the killing, saying he felt she was cheating on him.
“By any measure, Kehau Farias was a caring, thoughtful, loving, remarkable person,” Martin said. “I have been told so by her family, her friends, by the families of the children she cared for every afternoon in her job.”
Schmidt also pleaded no contest to the attempted second-degree murder of James Reeves II, who was stabbed while trying to stop the attack at a Foodland store, and first-degree assault of Scott Spencer “Kip” Stolsig, who also was stabbed while intervening.
Both the prosecution and defense recommended that Schmidt be sentenced to two life terms with the possibility of parole and 10 years in prison, with all sentences to be served at the same time.
Defense attorney Chris Dunn offered condolences to Farias’ family in court. He said Schmidt accepted responsibility by entering pleas, knowing that he would be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Schmidt has a history of mental illness dating to 1995, as well as a history of substance abuse, Dunn said. Three psychiatrists or psychologists who examined Schmidt found that he suffered from a mental disease, disorder or defect, yet Schmidt gave up the opportunity to raise an insanity defense at trial, Dunn said.
Martin said statistics show that in an abusive relationship, “the most lethal time for a victim is when they separate from the abuser.”
“This had nothing to do with some psychotic break,” Martin said. “This was, at its heart, a domestic violence homicide fueled by jealousy and rage. This was every abuse victim’s worst nightmare. What they fear the most came true for Kehau Farias.”