Ex-death row inmate defends himself in sex trafficking case

HONOLULU — A judge is allowing an exonerated death row inmate from Delaware to defend himself against sex trafficking charges in Hawaii.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglsi says he believes it’s unwise for Isaiah McCoy to defend himself in a case where he faces life in prison if convicted. Still, the judge in Honolulu granted McCoy’s request Friday and appointed an attorney to be his backup counsel.

McCoy told the judge he represented himself in a death penalty case in Delaware. In 2010, McCoy was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He spent nearly seven years in prison before being acquitted during a second trial. He later moved to Hawaii.

He is charged with seven counts of sex trafficking. Prosecutors say he forced, threatened and coerced young women into prostitution.

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