McCrory murder trial begins in Fifth Circuit Court

LIHU’E – The trial of William Lowell McCrory, 46, began Tuesday.

McCrory is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Brent “Kerby” Kerr, 44, at Kalapaki Beach on October 26.

Prosecuting attorney Michael Soong told the six-man, six-woman jury that witnesses’ testimonies and evidence would prove the events of the night of October 25 resulted in “a senseless murder.”

Public defender James Itamura asked the jury to “remember the difference between probability and proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” and not to judge the defendant before hearing all the evidence presented.

Previous police reports revealed that McCrory and Billy Pierce, 48, had been drinking together on October 25, when he rode with McCrory to Kerr’s van at Kalapaki Beach. The three men lived in separate vehicles that were parked at Kalapaki.

In a preliminary hearing last November, Pierce testified that McCrory borrowed his knife, knocked on Kerr’s van and saw McCrory attack Kerr.

Witnesses previously said that McCrory drove his two-toned Ford Bronco from Kalapaki and was heading for the North Shore when it ran out of gas near Wailua Beach; Kerr’s body was later found in naupaka bushes along Kuhio Highway that front the grounds of the Coco Palms Resort.

On Tuesday, several witnesses for the prosecution testified to the timeline for McCrory and Pierce the night of October 25 and early morning of October 26.

Gene Verzosa, Jr., testified that he was working at Rainbow Gas Mart in the early morning of October 26, when two men walked up, asking to trade a shell necklace for gasoline since they had no money.

Verzosa said that they were hanging around the gas station during a heavy rain, and later saw a man give them about $2 for gas. The men borrowed Verzosa’s gas can and walked to their vehicle. He said he “had a feeling they weren’t sober” and that the man with the necklace seemed “on edge.”

Verzosa identified McCrory as the man who was trying to trade the necklace for gas, and Itamura asked the gas station attendant, “Did you point this man out because he’s sitting here or because you really remember him?”

Joseph Palmer, a former neighbor of McCrory’s, testified to receiving a telephone call from McCrory around 2-4 a.m. on October 26. He did not speak to McCrory that night, but a Melanie Atkins did, and he said that she went to pick up the two men from the gas station.

“The next time I saw him (McCrory), he seemed depressed and not acting like himself,” Palmer said. “He said, ‘I stuck up for a friend and maybe I (deleted) up.'”

Kaua’i Police Department officer Kennison Nagahisa testified that on October 26, he was at Rainbow Gas Mart just past Wailua Beach. He was approached by a man who said he was walking along Kuhio Hwy. near Wailua Beach, looked down and saw a man’s body lying in the bushes.

Kaua’i Fire Department firefighter Jeff Weiss testified that he was dispatched to the area fronting Coco Palms from the Kapa’a Fire Station, where he saw a man lying face-down in the naupaka bushes. He checked for a pulse and determined the man was dead. “The fact that rigor mortis was setting in relieves us of doing CPR; we back out and it becomes a police matter,” Weiss said.

McCrory’s public defender, James Itamura, will present witnesses today in Circuit Court, Judge Clifford L. Nakea presiding.

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