Kauai judge considers life sentence for fatal crash driver

LIHUE — A Kauai man convicted of drunk driving and causing a fatal collision faces a possible life sentence after a jury decided he is a public threat who should serve extended prison terms, a report said.

Jurors on Kauai concluded 48-year-old Cody Safadago should serve additional time for three convictions, The Garden Island reported Tuesday.

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The jury convicted Safadago Friday on eight counts including drunk driving and causing a 2017 collision that killed 19-year-old Kayla Huddy-Lemn.

Hawaii prosecutors have the option to seek extended terms for multiple felony offenders if they prove defendants are public safety threats.

Prosecutors sought to increase the maximum penalty for manslaughter from 20 years in jail to life and double the allowable sentences from 10 to 20 years for fleeing the scene of an accident and from five to 10 years for car theft.

The jury granted the three requests at the conclusion of a hearing Monday.

The jury’s decision gives Judge Randal Valenciano the option of handing down extended prison sentences, but he is not legally bound to do so. A sentencing date was not immediately scheduled.

Defense attorney Emmanuel Guerrero told jurors the extended terms were not necessary because “there was no evil intent.” Safadago is an alcoholic and can be rehabilitated, he said.

“He did what he did because he just couldn’t control himself,” Guerrero said.

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The argument that Safadago was incapable of controlling his actions was the reason extended sentences were needed, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sean Van Demark.

“He’s gonna do whatever he wants,” Van Demark told the jury. “How long until he’s back in the public?”

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