Tongan man in US jailed for 50 years over wife’s killing

Tongan Hauati (Howard) Fa’anunu has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for fatally shooting his wife Mary Fa’anunu in a family home in the United States last year.

Fa’anunu was sentenced on Wednesday and he will also spend 36 months in prison for a misdemeanor child endangerment.

That includes six months for every child present in the home at the time their mother was killed.

“By committing such a cruel and violent act, he has broken the hearts and lives of hundreds of people including his own children,” said Sara Wright, Mary’s sister, according to San Diego 7 news.

Mary Fa’anunu was 34 when she died in the family’s home on Melrose Lane in unincorporated El Cajon.

She was blindsided in her El Cajon home and shot by the husband she tried to leave after enduring years of mistreatment.

“For 14 years I worried about her — I was scared for her and her children since the day she said I do,” said Heidi Koffman, a friend of the victim.

At the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Mary Fa’anunu’s sister, Heidi Wright, said the shooting has torn her family apart.

It was 12:35 a.m. when the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Lakeside Substation received a call from Fa’anunu who claimed he had shot his wife.

Deputies found Mary alone inside the house.

“A wise man once said regarding fatherhood, the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother,” said Elisabeth Newbold, the mother of the victim. “We can deduce from this, the worst thing a man can to for his children, is to murder their mother.”

Prosecutors said Fa’anunu will not be eligible for parole for 40 years.


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