Durgh trial concludes, jury out

LIHUE n The jury trial of a man accused of assaulting a Nawiliwili Tavern worker last May concluded Wednesday afternoon.

“Nobody tells Uncle Durgh what to do,” said Deputy Prosecutor Craig De Costa in a closing statement to the 12-member jury.

Kane is accused of shattering a bar glass known as a “bucket” and using it to stab and cut the face of Jason Geffert in the early morning hours of May 26, 2002.

Going over testimony to make the state’s case that Kane intentionally and knowingly caused serious bodily injury and permanent disfigurement to Geffert, De Costa stated that Geffert did not initiate the affray because his role at the bar was to “keep things running smoothly.”

The defense argued that it was unreasonable for Geffert to go up behind a person like Durgh Kane, and that Kane acted in self-defense because Geffert initiated the bodily contact.

“He (Geffert) put himself in that situation because he acted in an unreasonable manner and unprofessional manner,” Zenger said.

Kane, the defense’s only witness, testified that from about 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. May 25n26, he had double- and single-shot drinks of gin and club soda at Niumalu, Lihue Cafe and Pinetree Inn, the equivalent of about 14 shots of liquor in all.

Zenger contended that Geffert’s story mutated over time and that details not originally presented to police emerged at trial.

For instance, according to Geffert, Kane said, “it’s all fine, the police is not goin’ touch me,” when warned about getting a ticket. Next, Kane said that there was not a police car in the area and that he and Geffert never shook hands that night.

Kane said that Geffert started the physical contact, and that someone grabbed his shoulder from behind and pulled him while he was at the doorway looking for a friend who had walked outside.

Kane said when he turned around he grabbed his groin then put him in a headlock.

Geffert testified that upon seeing Kane walk toward the narrow exitway, he followed and asked him to keep his drink indoors. Geffert alleged that he pointed to a police car parked nearby and made mention that he didn’t want to get a ticket from the police for breaking the liquor law.

Geffert also testified that Kane, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds, used his weight to press him into the wall or door, but then shook hands with him. Geffert said when he looked away Kane hit him in the head.

“I thought somebody was going to hit me or something because he grabbed me from behind,” Kane said.

Kane said he used the glass in his hand to hit Geffert, then they fell to the ground. Kane said he got up by himself, then drove to the Kauai Police Department to report the incident.

“I didn’t intentionally cut his face,” Kane said.

Witnesses for the state who were at the scene didn’t mention Geffert squeezing Kane’s groin, but did say he was put in a headlock and restrained while Kane cut his face with the glass.

Witness Catherine Anna Putnam was unavailable and her testimony was delivered via videotape. At the time of the incident, Putnam was working as an emergency room nurse at Wilcox Hospital and that night was a patron at Nawiliwili Tavern. She testified to seeing Kane put Geffert into a headlock and breaking the glass on a ship’s wheel that is located near the entrance to the bar. She said he then “slammed it into the gentleman’s face.” She said she gave Geffert initial treatment at the bar before emergency medical personnel arrived.

Geffert suffered multiple lacerations and skin flaps to his face, requiring 151 stitches, according to Dr. Monty Downs, Wilcox’s emergency room doctor. There were five major lacerations.

Kauai Police Department Officer Gilbert Asuncion testified that he questioned Geffert during treatment, but had to stop partway through because of the anesthesia. He continued taking a statement by dictation, which Geffert signed.

Witness Angela Santos, was also at the bar at the time. Santos, a longtime friend of “Uncle Durgh’s” sisters and family, said she was at the bar and in the area from about 6 p.m. and testified that she saw Durgh stumble into the bar.

“Durgh had Jason in a headlock and I saw the glass in Durgh’s hand connect with Jason’s face,” she said.

Kane himself said “I could feel that I was a little bit loaded but not that I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Kane is represented by attorney Mark Zenger; the state’s case was presented by county lead prosecutor Michael Soong and deputy prosecutor Craig De Costa. The trial had been continued since from November. Kane was originally represented by Erick Moon, who has since become employed by the public defender’s office. Kane Geffert is currently a resident of Connecticut.

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