Prosecution witness alleges McCrory used knife to murder Kerr

In the second day of William McCrory’s murder trial, a former drinking buddy alleged that McCrory stabbed Brent “Kerby” Kerr to death, and the wife of another drinking partner testified he asked her for a knife to kill someone with.

William McCrory, 46, faces a jury in Fifth Circuit Court for second-degree murder relating to the stabbing death of Kerr early in the morning of October 26.

McCrory appeared jovial and friendly in court on Wednesday, talking with sheriffs and smiling at the court staff. McCrory had his wavy dark gray hair neatly combed back. He wore a white button-up short-sleeved shirt and taper-leg blue jeans, cuffed just right to show his light brown boots, which clacked on the courthouse floors.

It was a quite a style change from Tuesday, when McCrory wore a black polo shirt with horizontal white pinstripes and a green collar, his hair frizzy and his head cocked to one side.

During much of the day, McCrory looked upon his two legal pads on which he made lists and notations to share with his public defender attorney James Itamura.

Testimony at the trial showed that McCrory, Kerr and William Pierce all lived out of separate vehicles in the Kalapaki/Nawiliwili beach area in late 2001. Pierce testified that he’d usually “party with the guys and drink” all day at Kalapaki.

Pierce told the court that the stabbing occurred outside the dilapidated van that Kerr lived in, which was parked in an area near Hale Kauai and Island Liquidators at Nawiliwili.

Pierce testified that on October 25, the day Kerr was stabbed, he and Kerr had been drinking together from two one-gallon bottles of vodka that Kerr apparently stole from a grocery store earlier that morning. Pierce said he brought some lobsters to a friend’s house, passed out for about six hours and later woke up in McCrory’s van, which was parked next to Kerr’s van.

“I was sleeping in the Bronco, Billy woke me up and asked me to use my knife,” Pierce said in his testimony.

Pierce testified that McCrory then grabbed the knife, opened up the back of Kerr’s van, grabbed Kerr and headbutted him.

Then Pierce told the court he heard the “thuds” – a sound he said came from McCrory stabbing Kerr.

Pierce, an admitted alcoholic, said he lent McCrory his knife because he thought the truck had broken down. He said McCrory asked him to help put Kerr’s body in the Bronco, which they did, and Pierce said he passed out again after washing the blood off of his knife.

While driving towards the North Shore, Pierce said they turned the Bronco around in Moloa’a and ran out of gas near the Coco Palms Resort across from Wailua Beach. At that point, Pierce testified, he and McCrory removed Kerr’s body from the automobile and laid it down in the naupaka bushes fronting the Coco Palms Resort along Kuhio Highway. He then helped push the Bronco about 10-20 feet away before going to Rainbow Gas Mart.

Testimony given Monday by Gene Verzosa, an attendant at Rainbow Gas Mart, confirmed that Pierce was at the Wailua Beach area that night. And a surveillance video from the gas station admitted as evidence showed Kerr and McCrory hanging out there that night.

Pierce said that McCrory unsuccessfully tried to trade a necklace for gas, then they hung around outside in the pouring rain. On the video, an older man is later shown giving them a few dollars for gas.

Melanie Atkins, a friend of McCrory’s, later arrived on the scene. Atkins testified that she gave McCrory a ride to his Bronco after he called her around 3 a.m. The automobile was still parked near Coco Palms. McCrory put the gas in the car, picked up Pierce from the gas station and the men drove back to Kalapaki, Pierce told the court.

Under questioning from Itamura, Pierce testified that he escaped charges by changing his story to police after he found out he would be arrested for second-degree murder.

Pierce said he had lied to the police and had told them two stories: one before and one after he discovered he might be arrested.

In his previous statements, Pierce said he was on a drinking binge and was so drunk he couldn’t remember anything after bringing lobsters to a friend’s house.

Christine Taniguchi, the wife of Austin Taniguchi, another one of McCrory’s drinking buddies, testified that McCrory came to their house in Lihu’e about midnight the night of the alleged murder, asking about three or four times to borrow a knife to kill someone.

Taniguchi testified that McCrory told her, “There was this haole guy down at the beach, bumming money from everyone and he was sick of it, sick of him.”

She testified that McCrory was drunk and said that he wanted to kill someone. She said she cleaned a cut on his foot and tried to talk him out of it. The cut may have been bleeding in his Bronco, leaving blood stains in the car.

Itamura pointed out that Taniguchi’s husband and McCrory had been drinking buddies and worked together but that she is now separated from her husband because of his drinking problem.

Kauai Police Department detectives Marvin Rivera and Roy Asher both testified to investigating the area where Brent “Kerby” Kerr’s body was found in Wailua.

Asher testified that police impounded McCrory’s Ford Bronco to retrieve evidence after an initial search at Kalapaki revealed blood stains on the door panels and floor.

Asher was assigned to accompany the body to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, where an autopsy was performed on October 27.

Prosecutors say that a doctor plans to verify that blood samples found in the Bronco match Kerr’s blood, taken during his autopsy.

Prosecuting attorneys Mike Soong and Craig De Costa introduced eight witnesses Tuesday. The defense is scheduled to present witnesses today.

Judge Clifford L. Nakea is presiding at the trial.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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