Two men who broke into an Auckland home where they bashed and "hog tied" their victim before leaving him suffocating to death on a bed have been sentenced to 10-year jail terms.

Don Ekeroma, 35, and Benny Fatu, 29, earlier pleaded guilty to robbing Shannon Shelby Baker during a home invasion at his Sandringham house in December 2018.

However, both denied murdering Baker.

A High Court at Auckland jury agreed, finding the pair guilty of manslaughter instead.

Today, Justice Pheroze Jagose subsequently sentenced Fatu to a maximum 10 years and 6 months behind bars and Ekeroma to a 10-year term.


However, both men could walk free much sooner. Fatu could serve a minimum four years and 3 months if he behaves well behind bars and Ekeroma Ucould serve a minimum four-year term.

Pheroze said because there were no witnesses to Baker's death apart from Ekeroma and Fatu, the exact details of the attack might never be known.

However, Baker was badly hurt during the assault.

"His nose and left eye-socket were fractured; the impact to his eye-socket also ruptured his eyeball, permanently blinding him in that eye," Pheroze said.

Baker had either been attacked with weapons or kicked and punched multiple times, he said.

Police outside a block of units on Calgary St, Sandringham, where Shannon Shelby Baker was found dead. Photo / Leon Menzies
Police outside a block of units on Calgary St, Sandringham, where Shannon Shelby Baker was found dead. Photo / Leon Menzies

After the attack, Ekeroma and Fatu turned Baker face down on his bed and "hog tied" him so his hands and feet were tied together behind his back.

They also likely tied a pair of shorts over Baker's nose and mouth.

Baker later died from asphyxiation. Fluids which ran onto the shorts tied across his mouth possibly contributed to his struggle to breathe, Pheroze said.


Ekeroma and Fatu stole methamphetamine from Baker's home along with car keys, a wallet and $600 in cash.

Both men denied assaulting Baker.

Ekeroma said he had been a self-employed builder before becoming addicted to meth, something he claimed Fatu had introduced him to.

New Zealand-born Fatu had earlier been deported from Australia in 2015 where he was jailed twice for two meth-related violent offences, Pheroze said.

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Since his deportation, he had only had irregular building work, Pheroze said.

"A drugs screen at the time of your arrest showed a high level of methamphetamine use, which you acknowledge to be a key driver of your offending," the judge said.


In sentencing Fatu, Pheroze acknowledged his "dysfunctional" upbringing and his early guilty plea to the robbery charge as mitigating factors.

Pheroze also acknowledged Ekeroma had been a "model" prisoner since being arrested for the crime and noted this as a mitigating factor.

However, Pheroze also said the normal minimum jail period of one-third the maximum sentence was not sufficient punishment in this case.

That led Pheroze to raise the minimum jail term to four years, or 40 per cent of the maximum term.

"To be released after one-third of your sentence, or less than four years, would be an inadequate response to your violent offending causing Mr Baker's death," Pheroze said.