Defense to contest accused killer's competency

Laungatasi Ahio

The 23-year-old man who fatally stabbed a romantic rival near Mills High School three years ago was sentenced yesterday to 25 years to life in prison and plans to spend the time in the prison ministry helping others connect with God.

Laungatasi Samana Ahio, 23, was assured the possible life term after pleading no contest in May to the Aug. 4, 2010 murder of Jared Afu. On Tuesday, Ahio was formally sentenced and his defense attorney indicated his goal during incarceration, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Afu’s friends reported seeing him stabbed by Ahio around 11:30 p.m. The next afternoon, a bloodied backpack containing identification and a bloody knife was discovered a block from the school, on the side of the New Vision United Methodist Church on Chadbourne Avenue. Ahio surrendered to police that night.

Ahio killed Afu over jealousy involving his wife who he was convicted in July 2010 of battering, according to prosecutors.

However, Wagstaffe said Ahio was mistaken and the woman was not having an affair.

Before Ahio could be tried, the defense attorney questioned his competency and, based on the conclusions of two court-appointed doctors, he was committed to Napa State Hospital in June 2012. The hospital returned him in the fall, deeming him restored to competency. In January of this year, a judge confirmed the finding.

Had Ahio opted for trial on murder and knife charges, he faced life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of those counts and the special allegation of lying in wait. Prosecutors opted against seeking the death penalty.

Ahio did not address the court at his sentencing hearing but Afu’s mother did, saying she forgave him for his actions and calling the punishment appropriate, Wagstaffe said.

In a pre-sentencing report, Ahio did accept responsibility and expressed remorse for the harm he inflicted, Wagstaffe said.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

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