A 73-year-old Hawaiian Beaches man who shot a Panaewa woman four times on Mother’s Day 2012 after she had broken off a relationship with him was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.
Joseph Amormino Sr., a retired Hawaii Community Correctional Center guard, pleaded guilty on Sept. 19 to first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of terroristic threatening for the May 13, 2012, shooting of June Shirshac, 57, a former greeter at the Hilo Walmart. The sentencing also included a road rage incident on Highway 130 as Amormino drove from Hawaiian Beaches to the Auwae Road home where Shirshac lives with former husband Francis Makaiwi, who was also home at the time of the shooting.
Amormino’s son, Joseph Jr., and his family were in the courtroom. The younger Amormino had testified in a preliminary hearing on May 18, 2012, that his father stopped by his Hawaiian Beaches home before driving to Shirshac’s home. He was reportedly drunk and angry.
Prior to his plea deal with prosecutors, Amormino was charged with attempted murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole upon conviction.
The surprise guilty plea came three weeks into Amormino’s trial and immediately after Shirshac, who sustained gunshot wounds to both legs and to her right hand and shoulder, spent three days on the witness stand. She was escorted in and out of the courtroom in a wheelchair.
At sentencing, Deputy Prosecutor Shaunda Liu told the court 25 years “is a reasonable resolution for Mr. Amormino’s actions.”
“His actions left Mrs. Shirshac with a significant impairment of her bodily function. She is unable to walk without aid. She has lost full use of her right arm. … She does live in constant pain and she has lost her ability to work.”
Liu said she had not heard “any kind of sorrow or regret from Mr. Amormino for his actions” and that it appeared Amormino’s defense was to attempt to justify his shooting of Shirshac.
Amormino addressed the court and said he wanted to “apologize to June Shirshac and her family for what I did.”
By the time he had finished speaking, Amormino was fighting back tears.
While passing sentence, Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara said Amormino’s pre-sentencing report “paints a picture of someone who, over a period of time, I think avoided reality and tried to find reality of a bottle, and in the course of doing so, ultimately rejected a lot of helping hands.”
Hara said Amormino had been a devoted family man for most of his life and that his children, grandchildren and grandchildren “looked up to you and adored you as being the head of the family.”
“In great part, Mr. Amormino, I think you’re here today because of your refusal to address the fact that you had a great loss and you needed to deal with it other than by hitting the bottle.”
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.