Teen who admitted double killing, sentenced to life in prison

11.30am

The teenager who admitted what police called two 'execution-style' killings, has been sentenced to life in prison, without a chance of parole for 17 years and nine months.

Justice Potter sentenced Ese Junior Falealii, 18, in the High Court at Auckland this morning.

The killer received the second-longest non-parole period for murder handed out in this country.

The crown had asked for a 20-year minimum non parole period. The judge decided to reduce that after submissions by Falealii's lawyer, Kevin Ryan QC.

It was revealed in court that Falealii had been taking a form of methamphetamine known as P.

In a moving moment during the sentencing, a letter from Falealii's parents was read to the court, expressing their deep shame for what had happened.

The first of Falealii's murder victims was Marcus Doig, a 23-year-old Howick man who was working a second job at a Howick pizza bar to save for an overseas holiday.

On May 8, Falealii robbed the pizza bar at gunpoint.

During the robbery, money was handed over and Mr Doig was ordered to get down on the floor.

As Mr Doig got down, Falealii leaned over and fired a shot into the back of his head from the .22 calibre rifle he carried.

A week later he murdered his second victim.

Mangere Bridge bank teller John Vaughan, 44, also obeyed the shouted instructions of Falealii as he robbed the ASB Bank in the small suburb.

After handing over $5830, Mr Vaughan and another teller stood back with their hands over their heads in a surrender pose.

Without warning or provocation Falealii leaned over and shot Mr Vaughan in the head, using the same rifle he had used to shoot Mr Doig.

He was later to tell police he shot Mr Vaughan for no reason, but that he went on his crime spree to pay off drug debts.

Justice Potter today told Falealii the murders were senseless callous, and brutal -- "and in the circumstances particularly cruel".

She said the money gained in the robberies was not significant.

"Mr Falealii was prepared to kill for very little."

Falealii admitted to the murders in Manukau District Court last month with a barely audible "Guilty, I'm sorry" when asked to plead.

The district court registrar got the same response when she asked Falealii to plead on eight charges of armed robbery and one of attempted murder.

The court heard that during a three-week crime spree Falealii robbed eight stores, fired eight shots, and fled with $15,300 from a bank, a furniture shop, a bar, a snooker hall, a pizza outlet and three TAB betting agencies.

He received automatic life sentences for the killings.

On the charge of attempted murder he was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison and on each of the eight aggravated robberies he was sentenced to seven years and nine months.

The judge said he got credit for his early guilty plea.

- NZPA, HERALD STAFF

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