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Bellevue Man Gets Life in Prison for Girlfriend's Murder in Hawaii

Philip Howard Zimmerman will spend life in prison for the second-degree murder of his girlfriend Susan Brockert, of Bellevue, while they were on vacation at a Hawaii resort last year.

Philip Howard Zimmerman of Bellevue was sentenced to life in prison for the second-degree murder of his girlfriend Susan Brockert, also of Bellevue, while they were on vacation at a Hawaii resort last year.

Zimmerman, 47, was also sentenced on Tuesday to a consecutive 20-year sentence for kidnapping Brockert, which limits the possibility that Zimmerman will ever walk free, according to West Hawaii Today.

West Hawaii Today reported that Brockert's high school age daughter, Maddy Brockert, spoke at the hearing this week. The news organization reported that Maddy Brockert now speaks with other students about domestic violence relationships after learning more about it when her mother died.

Zimmerman's trial had been set for August, after a competency hearing found him fit to stand trial, but his plea averted a trial.

Zimmerman was accused of killing Brockert, 44, of Bellevue, after she was pronounced dead after an assault in their hotel room at The Fairmont Orchid resort in the Kohala Coast of Hawaii in May 2011.

Resort workers witnessed part of the assault from outside the room and, after they kicked in the door, they said that they saw Zimmerman holding a tile that was used to strike Brockert.

He faced charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping and second-degree criminal property damage.

The night of May 23, 2011, a resort worker heard someone cry for help and heard banging noises coming from their room, and he climbed onto the balcony from an adjacent room, 

The worker said that Brockert, who was lying on the floor, looked at him and appeared to be trying to say something when she was struck twice more with pieces of broken hotel furniture, according to Hawaii 24/7. Resort workers told the court that they broke in and found her without a pulse, and said that Zimmerman, still holding a tile that was used to strike her, locked himself in the bathroom, according to news reports.

Brockert had two children and was a graduate of Newport High School in Bellevue and the University of Washington. She worked for Woodinville marketing firm Bensussen Deutsch & Associates, according to Legacy.com.

Brockert had apparently received the trip as a 15th anniversary gift from her workplace, according to a report by Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii News Now's report also stated that court records showed that Zimmerman, also known as Howard Philip Zimmerman, had a history of domestic violence, including against Brockert and against his ex-wife, and had made threats to the Bellevue Police Chief, the city council and other city officials.

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