crimesider

Hawaiian Iraq War Vet Charged With Killing Son, Wife's Unborn Child with Combat Knife

Tyrone Vesperas (Hilo Police Dept.)

HILO, Hawaii (CBS/AP) Tyrone Vesperas, a Hawaii Army National Guard soldier and Iraq war veteran, is accused of fatally stabbing his 14-year-old son and his estranged wife's unborn child and was found fit to stand trial for murder.

Vesperas admitted to stabbing his son, Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan, and his nearly full-term wife, Cheryl Vesperas, in the abdomen with a military-issued combat knife during a June 2007 domestic dispute, police said.

On Tuesday May 11, two psychiatrists and a psychologist unanimously concluded that Vesperas was able to understand the proceedings against him, according to Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, possessing a deadly weapon, and second-degree murder by omission. He faces the last charge for allegedly failing to help his wounded son, even though he was instructed to do so by a 911 dispatcher.

Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan attempted to hold back his father so his mother could escape. During the struggle, the teenager was stabbed in the left side of his neck, cutting his jugular vein.

Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan (Personal Photo)

The son was recorded begging a 911 operator for help, sobbing: "My dad stabbed me in my neck. Please, come with police, call the police."

The boy was found dead by the time police arrived at the home. Cheryl Vesperas fled the house and was met near Keaau by an ambulance. Doctors couldn't save her unborn child, who had been fathered by a man other than her estranged husband.

Tyrone Vesperas is a full-time technician and staff sergeant for the Hawaii Army National Guard. He served with the 29th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq from February 2005 to January 2006.

He has been in custody without bail since his arrest and could face a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of murder.