SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — On October 2015, neighbors watched in horror as two men assaulted each other at a home in Bountiful.
In the end, one man died, and the other was sent to prison. It was a day Henili “Henry” Kaufusi dreaded.
“I don’t know what else can be said other than it’s a sad and terrible day,” Lt. Dave Edwards told ABC4 in 2015.
Police said the two men were in a heated argument that got out of hand.
37-year-old Sione Mangisi died that afternoon. Court documents showed he had been texting with Kaufusi earlier that day. Mangisi was divorced and arrived at the home to visit his children.
Police claimed those texts concerning the children became hostile and perhaps led to Mangisi’s death.
“An ambulance responded; an air ambulance responded,” Edwards said. “They did all they could, but the victim passed away in the landing zone.”
Kaufusi was charged with murder and eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to prison for up to 15 years.
At a recent parole hearing, Kaufusi explained that it was self-defense at first.
“I was trying to talk him down, but you could tell by the expression on his face and the things that he was saying that he was there to fight,” Kaufusi told the hearing officer with the board of pardons.
Kaufusi claimed Mangisi threw the first punch, and he fought back. He said he was heading back inside, but Mangisi kept attacking him.
Witnesses told a different story to the police. In a search warrant, one witness said Kaufusi kept “swinging away” at the victim who lay on the ground. Kaufusi left the scene, returned and “took pictures” of the victim who was motionless. The witness claimed Kaufusi continued to “stomp” the victim’s body with his feet.
At his parole hearing, Kaufusi said he regretted his actions.
“I punched, kicked past the point of my self-defense, and that’s where I messed up,” he said. “It’s my mistake.”
After seven years in prison, Kafausi claimed he is no longer that mean and angry man. He has taken self-improvement classes that deal with anger management. Over the past three years, he has been a model prisoner.
At his sentencing, Kaufusi expressed remorse over what happened. He repeated his apology at his recent parole hearing.
“I do want to say to his family and his friends that I am truly sorry for what I did,” Kaufusi said.
No one from Mangisi’s family was present at the parole hearing. But during Kaufusi’s sentencing, Mangisi’s mother forgave him and hoped that Kaufusi would become a father figure to Mangisi’s children.
It could be several weeks before the board of pardons decides whether he will be paroled.