Hit-run driver seeks sentencing in Hawaii's Veterans Court
By NELSON DARANCIANG | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: May 13, 2014
HONOLULU — A motorist who pleaded guilty in a hit-and-run collision involving the death of a Hawaii Pacific University student in front of the school's Hawaii Loa campus says he is suffering from post-traumatic stress and wants to be sentenced in the state's Veterans Treatment Court.
Dominic Franklyn, 31, is facing a maximum 10-year prison term for leaving the scene after running over and killing Mariah Danforth-Moore on Nov. 20, 2011. Franklyn was supposed to be sentenced Monday.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn postponed the hearing for a month to allow Franklyn to apply for Veterans Court. If he is accepted, his sentence will come with treatment and monitoring.
On July 23, one year and eight months after Danforth-Moore's death, police cited Franklyn for speeding. He paid a fine a week later.
Ahn is allowing Franklyn to remain free on bail under the condition that he avoid further traffic violations.
Veterans Treatment Court is for military veterans who have mental health or substance abuse issues and who have committed nonviolent crimes. The prosecutor has an absolute veto at any point in the application or referral process.
Defense lawyer Richard Hoke Jr. says Franklyn's PTSD resulted from the incident that killed Danforth-Moore.
"So he's been in treatment for the last 2½ years," he said.
Hoke says Franklyn served six years in the Navy as a commissioned officer and was working as a defense contractor in 2011.
Danforth-Moore's father, Stephen Danforth, said 30 friends and relatives came to Hawaii from the Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin for Franklyn's sentencing. "So it's real upsetting," he said.
Because those who traveled from Wisconsin will not be able to return next month, Ahn allowed Danforth-Moore's grandfather and mother to address the court Monday.
"To have her taken away like this hurts," Darryl Moore said of his granddaughter Mariah, who he said was a high school honor student and drum major.
Lisa Moore said her only daughter was happy and always smiling. She said she has cried every day since Mariah died.
"There is so much hate in me, and I do not like that. That's so not me," she said.
Danforth-Moore would have graduated this year. HPU Provost Matthew Laio-Troth said the school will present her family a degree in her honor in a private ceremony Thursday.
Honolulu police said Danforth-Moore was in a crosswalk on Kamehameha Highway when a car struck her. The driver continued without stopping.
Franklyn turned himself in two days later.
Police seized his white BMW sedan, which they said had severe front-end damage.