Woman who had ID of murder victim sentenced
Defendant given 1-year jail term
WAILUKU — After being found with the identification of a 90-year-old woman who was killed in a burglary of her Harbor Lights condominium unit, a Kahului woman was sentenced Monday to a one-year jail term.
Chery Moniz, 29, could be released from jail to enter a long-term residential drug treatment program as early as Dec. 21, when she will have finished serving six months of the term.
She was placed on four years’ probation as part of her sentence.
Moniz was sentenced after she pleaded no contest to unauthorized possession of confidential personal information. When she was arrested June 24, Moniz had identification and a credit card belonging to Jacqueline Oberheim, police said.
Oberheim was assaulted after she woke up and started screaming while her apartment was being burglarized the night of June 20, a police investigation showed. She was transported to the hospital and later died, police said.
Moniz was arrested along with her boyfriend, Lewellyn Foster Jr., 35. He and co-defendant Aaron Wilsey, 26, are awaiting trial after being indicted on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.
Wilsey is also charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree theft and first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle earlier June 20 in Lahaina.
In sentencing Moniz, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza followed a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution.
“It appropriately reflects Ms. Moniz’s somewhat peripheral involvement in the crimes of the co-defendants,” said Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin. “It ultimately reflects what the state would be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”
He said Moniz would have a chance to rehabilitate herself while on probation.
“She has some big steps to take,” he said.
In reading her statements to police, “she has some serious criminal thinking going on,” Martin said.
He said Moniz reported daily use of alcohol or illegal drugs.
In a 2017 case, Moniz was on probation for third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug and third-degree promoting of a detrimental drug. She admitted violating requirements of her probation, including by failing to report to her probation officer, failing to follow through with drug treatment and abusing methamphetamine and marijuana.
She was resentenced Monday to four years’ probation in that case.
Martin asked that Moniz be ordered to have no contact with key witnesses in the case, as well as with Foster and Wilsey.
Defense attorney Jon Apo said Moniz objected to the request for no contact with Foster.
“At the very least, being engaged to Lewellyn, she hopes to be a support network for him — both in general, in terms of them planning a life together, as well as any support he may need in trial preparation,” Apo said. “Her objection is not one based on any kind of criminal thinking.”
In an earlier court hearing, Apo said Moniz lived in the same building but didn’t enter Oberheim’s unit when the burglary occurred.
Judge Cardoza ordered Moniz to have no direct or indirect contact with Foster and Wilsey unless she has written authorization from her probation officer.
“So I’m leaving the door open,” Cardoza told Moniz. “You need to work with your probation officer.”
The judge said studies show that the most common way for women to find themselves in the criminal justice system is through relationships. “And if you have relationships that are not healthy relationships, that can be a quick path into the criminal justice system and finding yourself in trouble,” Cardoza said.
Over the years, Cardoza said he often has seen women show up to support men. “And when it’s the woman who’s in custody and the guy is out of custody, that doesn’t happen,” Cardoza said. “And sometimes the guy is in another relationship and the girl is doing essentially his time because she got into trouble because of him.”
Cardoza said he wasn’t saying that was happening in Moniz’s case.
“I’m not commenting about Mr. Foster,” Cardoza said. “This isn’t about him. It’s about you.”
As part of her probation, Moniz was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
“Make yourself No. 1, at least for the next several years,” Judge Cardoza told her. “Take care of yourself first.”
Both Foster and Wilsey are being held without bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.