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Convicted murderer resentenced for killing Wailua woman in 1997

LIHU‘E — A convicted murderer was resentenced on Wednesday for his role in the brutal slaying and kidnapping of a 23-year-old Wailua woman more than 25 years ago.

Mitchell Peralto was handed down a sentence of 20 years for the kidnapping and life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for the murder of Kimberly Washington-Cohen. He was resentenced by Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe, who ordered the sentences be served consecutively — not concurrently.

“In 1997, Mitchell Peralto and his ex-wife, Monica Alves Peralto, suffocated Kimberly to death because they believed she was working as a police informant and that she had stolen some of Monica’s clothing,” said the County of Kaua‘i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in a statement following the resentencing.

“They committed a prolonged attack on Kimberly, bound and gagged her, and abducted her from a residence in Wailua Houselots. They tied blankets and plastic bags over her head, causing her to suffocate to death.

“Her dead body was found the next day, buried in a shallow grave at the end of a dirt road not far from the residence from which she was abducted. Pealto was on felony probation at the time.”

In handing down the resentencing, Watanabe noted the atrocious, heinous nature of the crimes and that the evidence showed Washington-Cohen suffered a beating, slow torture and suffocation. Washington-Cohen was the cousin of Alves Peralto.

Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like argued at the resentencing that a longer consecutive sentencing was warranted given a number of factors, including the nature and circumstances of the crimes and Peralto’s prior criminal history.

The resentencing on Wednesday was made necessary by a 2018 Hawai‘i Supreme Court decision in an unrelated case, which was not disclosed.

Peralto is currently imprisoned at Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona. He was present for the resentencing via video conference. Attorney Emmanuel G. Guerrero represented Peralto.

Alves Peralto is currently imprisoned at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua. She was resentenced by Chief Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano in 2021 to the same terms as Peralto. Alves Peralto and Peralto were convicted at trial in 1998.
Source: The Garden Island

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