Sad story for SK comes to an unsatisfying end
June 12, 2008 · Updated 5:02 PM
Its hard to see the sentencing of Wayne Hower as anything other than the final chapter in whats been a long and very sad story for South Kitsap.
Hower, 45, learned last week hell spend the next 23 years in prison for killing Al Kono, owner of PJs Market, last year. The sentence was determined as part of a plea agreement negotiated with the Kitsap County Prosecutors Office under which Hower agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence.
From the start, there was never any question Hower killed Kono with a shotgun after the two had argued over Howers bill at the store.
Howers attorneys, however, originally had him plead not guilty by reason of insanity, and his long history of treatment for psychological disorders seemed to support such a claim.
Still, prosecution experts pointed to indications Hower was, in fact, capable of distinguishing right from wrong. Ultimately, they built a strong enough case that Konos lawyers felt it best to cut a deal.
Under the circumstances, what they agreed to seems like as fair an outcome for both sides as could be expected not that its much comfort to the Kono family, which has to deal with the loss of a husband, father, son and friend.
Theyll be in our thoughts and prayers, as will Howers family and friends, who were dragged into this drama through no fault of their own.
As for Hower himself, we cant generate much sympathy for someone who could commit an act that brought about so much pain and suffering to so many good people. At the same time, no one will ever understand the demons he fought and continues to fight.
Our best hope at this point is that over the next 23 years Hower will get the help he needs and come to appreciate just how horrendous a crime he committed.
Thats what the Kono family already knows and isnt likely to forget. Not in 23 years, not in a lifetime.