A 59-year-old Huntington Beach man was sentenced Friday to 26 years to life in prison for slashing his wife’s neck a few days before their first wedding anniversary in a botched murder-suicide.

Slaying victim Heather Rosa pictured with son Ikaika. Photo via gofundme.com
Nelson Tuumamao Tuiolosega was convicted June 9 of first-degree murder for killing 46-year-old Heather Rosa nearly three years ago. He got 25 years to life for the murder, with another year tacked on for using a knife in the crime.

Tuiolosega offered a rambling, difficult-to-understand explanation for the killing, claiming that somehow God played a role and that he was committed to carrying on the good deeds of his dead wife.

“I’m not asking for no mercy or nothing,” Tuiolosega said. “I need help bad. Something’s wrong with me.”

The defendant said he previously was not a religious man, but has come to realize that “my wife was chosen by God.” He said several times that “I saw things you can’t understand.”

He added, “I have to suffer. He has chosen me to do God’s will.”

Tuiolosega said, “I don’t want to come out, I don’t care if they ever let me out … But this is what I’m supposed to do — to help people.”

He asked the family for forgiveness, but several of the victim’s relatives left the courtroom during the defendant’s statement, with some scoffing at his sincerity.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals replied, “I’m not exactly sure what you’re telling me. But if you’re telling me you killed your wife at God’s direction, then I reject that.”

The victim’s son, Ikaika Hoskins, wiped tears from his eyes when telling the defendant that he did not “break” him.

“As I look around the room today, you affected everybody, not just my family, but you’ve broken your own,” Hoskins said. “At first I was weak. I couldn’t function. But I’m not weak anymore.

“I’m in school. I get good grades and I’ve got a beautiful girlfriend… You didn’t break me. You brought my entire family down to its knees, but I’m going to take care of everybody in my family.”

The victim’s sister, Holly Neves, told the judge in a statement read aloud in court that Rosa was a talented athlete who enjoyed soccer, gymnastics and basketball. She also liked to coach and bake, her sister said.

Tuiolosega’s attorney had pushed for a voluntary manslaughter conviction, arguing at trial that the victim relentlessly nagged the defendant until he “exploded” in a rage.

The defendant met the victim through a friend, and they began a long- distance romance, Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino said. They got married on Nov. 1, 2011, but the Hawaii native didn’t move in with the defendant until June of the following year, the prosecutor said.

Initially, Hoskins lived with the newlyweds, but the young man grew unhappy and shortly moved back to Hawaii, Pino said.

Police were called to the couple’s apartment at mid-morning on Oct. 29, 2012, and found the victim’s bloody body in bed under a blanket, Pino said. The defendant was next to her, bleeding from the abdomen.

Tuiolosega told a friend two days before the killing: “If she ever leaves me I’ll kill her,” according to Pino.

The victim, meanwhile, told the friend who introduced her to the defendant that she informed him she wanted a divorce and was so afraid of her husband that she could not sleep at night, Pino said.

— City News Service

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