East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Ruling on Mathison’s Minimum Sentence to Wait

September 24, 2013, 6:42 PM HST
* Updated November 22, 3:12 PM
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***Updated 4:04 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25.***

Convicted murderer Ken Mathison will have to wait a while longer to see if there will be any change to his minimum sentence of 90 years for the murder of his wife.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority met today in Honolulu to receive input on the case, at which time it asked the state to provide additional information.

Bert Matsuoka, chairman of the paroling authority, told Big Island Now that the attorney general’s office has up to two weeks to provide the information, which will then be passed on to Mathison’s attorney. His attorney will then have up to two weeks to respond.


The authority will then issue its ruling, Matsuoka said.


This will be the third time that a minimum sentence will be set for the former Hawaii County police sergeant convicted during a 1996 trial of kidnapping and murdering his wife four years earlier.

Mathison’s minimum sentence was initially set at 20 years for the kidnapping and 25 years for the murder, but the latter was changed in 2009 to 90 years.

Another hearing was mandated by a 2012 Hawaii appeals court ruling that substantial new information is necessary for the changing of minimum sentences, Matsuoka said.


The state attorney general’s office, which handled the prosecution during Mathison’s trial, believes that the 90-year minimum should be maintained.

Mathison participated in today’s hearing via teleconferencing from the Arizona prison where he is being held.

If the parole board reverts back to the 25-year minimum sentence, Mathison could be eligible for parole as early as 2021.

Posted at 6:42 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24:

A new hearing will be held Wednesday in Honolulu to set a minimum sentence for Ken Mathison, the former Hawaii County police sergeant convicted of murdering his wife.

The state attorney general’s office said the hearing is needed because of “procedural problems” from Mathison’s previous minimum sentence hearing held on July 15, 2009. At that time, the Hawaii Paroling Authority set his minimum sentences at 20 years and 90 years for kidnapping and murder convictions, respectively.

The state believes that the minimum sentences were appropriate, and has asked the paroling authority to leave them unchanged.

Mathison was convicted in 1996 of the murder of his wife, Yvonne, four years earlier.

A Big Island jury found that he beat and murdered his wife and then ran her over with the family’s van along Highway 11 just above Mountain View.

Mathison told police officers arriving at the scene that night that he had accidentally run over his wife. He claimed that she had jumped out of the van after being told that he was the subject of a paternity lawsuit.

***Updated on Nov. 22 to correct Hawaii Supreme Court to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.***

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