KGMB 9 Honolulu

January 9, 2006 06:32 PM

Man in Prison Despite Innocence Pleas

Lisa Kubota -

Shaun Rodrigues claims he is innocent of a Manoa robbery that happened more than five years ago. But the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld his conviction, and he turned himself in on Monday. Outraged family members yelled at the prosecutor who helped put Rodrigues behind bars.

"I just want it to be known to everybody out there that I'm not the guy who did this," said Rodrigues. I'm innocent."

Shaun Rodrigues said a tearful goodbye to family members before being taken away.
Rodrigues said he is going to miss his family the most, especially his two-year-old son Christopher.

"Just thinking about being away from him, it hurts so much," said Rodrigues. "I'm going to be locked away someplace, and he's going to be at home crying for me."

"If I'm mad about the whole system, maybe a little," said his mother, Toni Kurihara. "But you know what, maybe this has to be an example to show people the system is wrong. There's nothing else to say."

Rodrigues was convicted of robbing two women at a Manoa home in July 2000. Prosecutors said he threatened the victims at gunpoint and tied them up with electrical cords.

"For this defendant to claim that he was not the Manoa home invader, hey, he can always make his claim," said deputy prosecutor Russell Uehara. "Crooks always claim that they're innocent."

Rodrigues helped install an alarm system at the home.

"Three separate proceedings, he was positively identified as the home invader," said Uehara. "He was not wearing a mask, he was not wearing dark glasses."

A fingerprint was found, but it was not a match. A former employer of Rodrigues even paid for a newspaper ad asking anyone with information to come forward. After the legal appeal failed, Rodrigues made videos of himself for his son to help the toddler deal with the separation.

"I know it's not going to be the same for him, but there's not much more we can do," said Rodrigues.

Prosecutors plan to recommend to the Hawaii Paroling Authority that Rodrigues serve the full 20 years since he has shown no remorse.

"He is guilty as charged, I don't care what he and his family says," said Uehara.

Rodrigues' lawyer, Bill Harrison, said there is no remorse because Rodrigues did not commit the crime. Harrison will file a petition in federal court asking for a new trial.

Innocent Imprisoned
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