“I have a hard time going through life … and I just hope he gets what he deserves.”
Nora Fernandez was referring to 27-year-old Dwayne “C.J.” Cory Wallace Jr. of Puna, whom she witnessed killing her son, Peter Cyrus Grammer, with a single blast of a .20 gauge shotgun to Grammer’s midsection last Aug. 25. The slaying took place in broad daylight in the middle of North Kulani Road, mere yards away from Highway 11 in Mountain View.
Grammer would have turned 27 on Thursday, the same day Fernandez addressed Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota.
Kubota sentenced Wallace to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Kubota stipulated that Wallace would have to serve at least 15 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole.
In return for Wallace’s guilty plea to the two charges, prosecutors dropped two additional charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition, plus use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, carrying a loaded firearm on a public highway and methamphetamine possession.
Fernandez spoke briefly but emotionally, the pain etched in her eyes.
“It’s hard for me to go on with my life, being that I lost my son. And that he took my son’s life and he’s here and my son’s not. It’s affected me in every way,” she said.
Grammer was the boyfriend of Wallace’s older sister, Krystal Kahalioumi, and Wallace told police he shot Grammer “center mass” from close range at Kahalioumi’s behest after she and Grammer argued earlier in the day.
“He blames his sister for the situation that he’s in, saying that it was his sister’s plan. He was just following what she told him to do,” Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Rothfus told the judge. “Even if that were true, it was the defendant’s own deliberate actions that caused the death of Peter Grammer. The defendant carried a shotgun on him, even though he was prohibited from possessing a gun as he had a prior felony conviction.
“… With a pull of the trigger, the defendant ended Peter Grammer’s life early and robbed Peter Grammer’s mother of her only son, right in front of her eyes in broad daylight, leaving her with terrifying memories of her son’s last moments.”
Jeremy Butterfield, Wallace’s attorney, told Kubota there was “an agreed-upon sentence in this matter.”
“We ask that the court follow that agreement,” he said.
Asked if he wanted to address the court, Wallace spoke briefly.
“If the family forgives me or not, I take full responsibility for my action and I’m going to do my time. That’s all I get,” he said.
Before passing sentence, Kubota noted Wallace’s “long criminal history” and said it is “kind of bothersome that, even in a situation like this, you see blame in other people or institutions.”
“This one is really unfortunate for a lot of people,” the judge told Wallace. “Your sister had a part in inducing you to go and shoot Peter Grammer, but you ultimately made the decision to do this. And you decided twice when the trigger didn’t fire because the safety was on. You had a second chance to do it and, you know, you did it in front of this man’s mother and in front of your sister, who was his girlfriend — even if they had a fight and other stuff.
“… It’s kind of ironic that today is Peter Grammer’s birthday. He was the same age as you, at age 27. (Fernandez) lost her son for life. Your mother, if she’s still alive, hasn’t lost you, but she’s not going to see you for a long time.”
County Prosecutor Kelden Waltjen said afterward that it’s his hope Wallace’s sentence “affords the family and friends of Peter Grammer some closure and hopefully a little sense that justice was served and that Peter will never be forgotten.”
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.