Bay killing organised from jail

By Cherie Taylor


The family of a man murdered execution-style by Joseph Russell Rewiri, who went on to orchestrate a fatal attack on a Tauranga businessman from jail, say he is nothing but a "thug" and should never be released from prison.

Joseph Russell Rewiri, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Peter Franklyn in Rotorua in 2006, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Gary Kimura.

Rewiri shot father of two Peter Franklyn three times outside the Rotorua International Stadium on May 31, 2006. The 43-year-old died two days later in hospital and Rewiri was convicted of murder and sentenced to life with a non-parole period of 14 years.

Rewiri, aka Jody Rutledge, 45, was on trial for the murder of Mr Kimura but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the fourth day of the High Court trial in Hamilton.

Rewiri arranged from prison for Witeri Neketai to collect a $31,000 drug debt. Neketai was this week convicted of murdering Mr Kimura at his Bellevue home on October 5, 2011 but the jury acquitted his associate, Taonui Hiku, of manslaughter. A fourth man, Jesse Hartley, who was charged with manslaughter, was discharged last week.

Rewiri instructed Neketai through text messages to "hammer him [Mr Kimura]" first.

Mr Franklyn's family said yesterday they could not understand how he came to have access to a cellphone, saying the conviction proved Rewiri was nothing but a "ruthless thug" unsuitable to live in society.

Brother Gary Franklyn said Rewiri would never change. He was not surprised by the prisoner's latest conviction.

"He's nothing but a thug, a standover man. He has a history of violence as long as your arm ... if he was in America he'd be on death row for his crimes."

Mr Franklyn said not a day passed when he did not think about his brother.

"I still haven't gotten over it ... I get so wild about the whole thing ... it's so wrong. He's murdered once and he's that type of person. He's ruthless and evil.

"He should never be allowed out. When he was sentenced to 14 years I just about laughed. It's a joke. He took my brother's life. He will never walk here again."

Peter Franklyn's widow, Carolyn Franklyn, is of the same view.

"It's just unbelievable he can do this from prison. It highlights the person he really is. He should never get parole because he will do this again. He's nothing but a scumbag."

It was frightening to know such people lived in society, Mrs Franklyn said.

"It's scary to know there are people like that out there ... and he can do it in such a calculated and pre-meditated way. He's just sick ... He's not a normal person."

However, she said Rewiri could reach out from behind bars and continue his criminal ways. "He can pretty much do it from inside. It's a joke. It's crazy inmates can have access to criminal organisations from inside. He had a cellphone. How can they do their deals from inside?"

Meanwhile, her family was still struggling with her husband's death.

"He has ruined my life. It still affects people in our life.

"He has stolen our future but what goes around comes around."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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