Hawaii highway shooter gets three life sentences

By Land Line staff | 8/16/2013

A man convicted of turning Honolulu highways into “killing zones” was sentenced to three life terms in prison.

Toby Stangel, 30, was sentenced on Aug. 14 after being convicted of the murder of Tammy Nguyen and the attempted murder of two other motorists in a shooting rampage that took place in the early morning hours of June 3, 2011, at an intersection on the H-1 freeway.

According to reports from The Associated Press Stangel exited his vehicle and walked up to a minivan driven by Nguyen and opened fire, shooting and killing her. Stangel then shot and injured two motorists on the H-1 Freeway. He kept driving and shot at two officers who were ticketing racing drivers.

Oahu Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kim said Stangel severely abused drugs for more than half his life and illegally carried a handgun for years, turning him into a “lethal time bomb” that went on a rampage.

Stangel suffered mental issues for most of his adult life and was hearing voices in his head, defense attorney John Schum told the judge.

Schum, along with Stangel’s parents, asked the judge for mercy, to give hope that Stangel could get out of prison someday.

Stangel apologized to Nguyen's family, who sat in the courtroom sobbing, and insisted he is a changed a man.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Nadamoto said the sentence brings closure for the Nguyen family, who declined to speak in court. Because of mandatory minimum terms, it will be at least 60 years before Stangel could be eligible for parole.

Jurors in May found Stangel guilty of second-degree murder and other charges. They also said he was not guilty of one count of first-degree attempted murder, which would have carried a mandatory life sentence without the possibility for parole.

The jury was then asked to consider whether Stangel should receive an extended term of life without parole, but jurors couldn’t agree.

In court, Judge Kim granted the prosecution’s request that the three life terms be served concurrently.

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