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By Oyaol Ngirairikl

KOROR, Palau (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 3) - Justin Hiroshi will serve three life sentences for taking the lives of three members of the DePaiva family in a bungled burglary in Palau just before Christmas last year.

The 43-year-old man, who also has a criminal history on Guam, was sentenced by Palau's Supreme Court on Aug. 30.

In addition to the three life sentences, which court documents state will run consecutively, Hiroshi faces 10 years for kidnapping, 10 years for burglary and 12 years and six months for attempted rape. Court documents state that the 32-plus years will be served concurrently with the life sentences.

Hiroshi was sentenced for the killings of Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Ruimar DePaiva, 42, his wife, Margareth, 37, and their son Larisson, 11, on Dec. 22, 2003. The victims were bludgeoned and stabbed to death, authorities have said.

Hiroshi also allegedly kidnapped the youngest and only surviving member of the family before strangling her and leaving her for dead on a secluded roadside.

Hiroshi had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on Jan. 5. But succeeding court records state that Hiroshi "voluntarily, intelligently and knowingly entered a guilty plea" to three counts of first-degree murder, kidnapping, burglary and attempted rape.

Authorities had earlier spelled Hiroshi's last name Hirosi.

Ruimar DePaiva was a pastor for the Koror SDA church and coordinator of Seventh-day Adventist work in Palau. The family was originally from Brazil and had come to serve in Palau in August of 2002.

The youngest victim and only surviving member of the DePaiva family had told officers that a man entered their home and tried to steal their television and VCR around 3 a.m. Dec. 22, 2003.

During interviews with the girl last year, she told investigators that she woke up and heard her mother screaming and saw a man hitting her with a "big tree stick," the December affidavit stated. The girl also saw her father and brother lying on the floor.

In 1995, Hiroshi was convicted on Guam of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree terrorizing and child abuse under the name Justino Yohai Imetengel.

He was sentenced to serve 10 years, but received early parole in July 29, 2002 and was deported to Palau on Aug. 14, 2002, according to Pacific Daily News files.

September 3, 2004

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