Man who killed pet pig gets 5 years

Sentence is in addition to 10 years being served now on firearms felony

October 30, 2008
By Dave Dondoneau

The Makaha man who killed Porky — a pet pig who obeyed voice commands and appeared on an Inter Island Airways TV commercial — was sentenced yesterday to five more years in prison on top of 10 years he's already serving for a firearms felony.

Joseph V. Calarruda's family and lawyer were surprised the new sentence will not run concurrent with his existing sentence, but Circuit Judge Richard Pollack cited Calarruda's extensive criminal past for his sentencing decision.

"The offense in this case was vicious and callous and resulted in the killing of a family pet pig," Pollack said. "The defendant acted purposely and violently in using the knife to kill a family pet. He went into the garage despite desperate pleas of others to stop.

"Based on all the materials submitted and the fact he had previously been on probation for kidnapping and abuse of a household member and is currently incarcerated for the firearms offense he committed while on parole — and he committed this offense while on bail and awaiting trial for the firearms felony — his sentences will run consecutive."

Following his sentencing Calarruda requested a new lawyer, who will be his third.

Aaron O'Brien, who owned Porky, said he was happy with the verdict but surprised by the length of the sentence.

"He still hasn't admitted to it," O'Brien said. "If he had just admitted it in the first place this probably never would have happened. He kind of dragged this on himself."

Calarruda testified at his trial that he was never at the Mililani farm when Porky was killed, and a hunting friend of Calarruda's confessed at the trial that he was the one who killed Porky.

However, witnesses identified Calarruda as the man who chased the pig into the garage, stabbed it to death and was caught cutting it up.

"He was convicted by a jury of his peers who weighed the credibility of the witnesses at the trial," deputy prosecutor Scott Bell said. "Three eyewitnesses identified him as Porky's slayer and discounted the phony admission.

"This has to be the most unique case I've ever taken to trial," Bell said.

Sharlene Holiday, who lives on the farm, said Calarruda's sentencing closed a long chapter for her family.

"We find Porky's death horribly tragic and are frequently saddened when we think of his last hours," Holiday said. "It was traumatic for us to see the defendant slaughter our pet before our eyes.

"I miss hearing the tapping of his hooves on the concrete when he would come to see me in the morning. I miss the petting and cuddling visits and the good scratching Porky liked on his tummy. ... Porky was (an) integral part of our family and he is greatly missed."

Porky was killed Oct. 22, 2006, at a lychee farm in Mililani. At the time, Calarruda was free on $40,000 bail awaiting trial in a firearms felony case for which he is now serving the maximum 10-year sentence.

Calarruda had been on parole for the 2000 kidnapping and the abuse of a household member when, also in 2006, he carried an AK-47 assault rifle and a loaded ammunition magazine to his workplace.

While Bell described Calarruda as "unrepentive" and "continually breaking the law," Calarruda's defense marched out several family members as character witnesses, including his 14-year-old daughter and her mother, Christina Nunes, whom Calarruda was convicted of kidnapping and abusing in November 2000.

"If I can walk in here and give forgiveness after everything we've been through, I believe anything is possible," Nunes said. "I pray that Joseph gets to be around his kids, for his daughter's graduation and watches his youngest daughter grow in a new life."

Calarruda stood quietly and looked upward while most of the testimony was given, but tears came to his eyes and he mouthed "I love you" as his 14-year-old daughter described how coming from a broken home made her stronger.

"I know my dad has made many mistakes," Kawaiilani told the judge. "I grew up in a broken home partly because of him. But, I grew up strong because of that and I was taught to forgive and I've done that. I don't like or deny what happened, but God has taught me that our laws in this world are flawed. ... I miss my dad."

Calarruda himself talked of a life of suffering. While never apologizing directly to Porky's owners or the farm residents, he gave an emotional account of his own life that included his father and aunt being murdered within a week of each other in 2005 in drug-related cases that have never been solved.

He also said he was a drive-by shooting victim in 2001 and his testimony put the shooter in prison. Earlier this year, while he has been serving his prison sentence, his fiancee and 2-year-old daughter were hit by a drunken driver.

"I know suffering," Calarruda said during an emotionally charged plea for mercy. "I should qualify as a professional in suffering. I grew up with four brothers. I've suffered addiction, abuse, poverty, all of which makes one suffer. It was so hard at times we found ourselves living on the beach when I was growing up.