Prosecutors must pay in murder retrial

LIHU’E — Lawyers in the county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will be paying for some expenses of a defendant in a murder retrial case.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe on Thursday ordered those in the county prosecutor’s office to pay just over $2,000 for attorney Daniel Hempey’s costs to defend William Lowell Mc-Crory.

The prosecutor’s office lawyers will be paying for airfare to bring a witness from the Mainland to Kaua’i to testify.

Further, lawyers in the prosecutor’s office will also be paying for Hempey’s request to hire an investigator for 30 hours to interview witnesses, and to serve subpoenas.

Hempey originally asked Watanabe that an investigator be hired for 45 hours. He pointed out that the investigator’s work would be important, because his client could be in prison for life.

McCrory was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2002 for stabbing to death Brent “Kerby” Kerr. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

McCrory’s conviction was reversed on appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The justices agreed that the testimony of a witness for the prosecution was irrelevant and prejudicial.

In requesting a delay in the start of the retrial, Hempey argued that finding a computerized composite sketch made by Kaua’i Police Department officers changed how he will present his case to the jury.

He pointed out that his whole defense was thrown into turmoil when the sketch depicting Kerr was found.

Hempey argued during a Jan. 5 pretrial hearing that a police report referred to a sketch that showed Kerr alive more than two hours after he was supposedly killed in Nawiliwili.

The sketch was found after a retired KPD officer was contacted.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ken Norelli argued that lawyers in the prosecutor’s office should not have to foot the entire bill. He pointed out that Hempey bought a nonrefundable plane ticket.

Additionally, Norelli pointed out that there are four witnesses for the defense, and that there is no need to hire an investigator for 45 hours.

Watanabe pointed out that the sketch was found on the eve of McCrory’s retrial, and that affected Hempey’s strategy to defend his client.

She said that it was a “no-brainer” to reset the trial date to March 20 because the sketch was found.

She also pointed out that Hempey believed that the retrial was going to start as scheduled, and that ticket prices will be higher because spring break will be around the time when McCrory’s retrial gets under way.

Watanabe ruled that the defense was prejudiced against, and ordered that representatives in the prosecutor’s office pay $2,096.50 in expenses incurred by Hempey.

Watanabe indicatedthat lawyers in the prosecutor’s office will cut a check made payable to Fifth Circuit Court. In turn, court officials will cut a check to Hempey, who was ordered by Watanabe to represent McCrory.

Watanabe also informed Norelli that it will be up to leaders in the prosecutor’s office to figure out how future requests for KPD records and evidence will be handled. She was concerned that the computerized sketch was not found at KPD.

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