LIHU’E — The fate of William Lowell McCrory is in the hands of 12 people.
Starting today, members of a jury will begin deliberating whether McCrory stabbed Brent “Kirby” Kerr to death in 2001.
McCrory was convicted in 2002 by members of a jury to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
He is being retried by another jury after justices of the state Supreme Court overturned Mc-Crory’s conviction in 2004.
While the investigation was ongoing, William “Billy” Pierce said he saw McCrory kill Kerr in Nawiliwili, and testified to such at the original trial and at a pre-trial hearing.
Since the original trial, Pierce has died of cirrhosis of the liver.
McCrory faces the charge of murder in the second degree for allegedly killing Kerr on Oct. 26, 2001.
On Tuesday, Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe instructed the jury members that they must come up with a unanimous verdict that McCrory is guilty as charged, or he is not guilty.
She pointed out to the jury members that they must find McCrory guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, she told members of the jury that Mc-Crory did not have to testify on his own behalf.
McCrory did not testify during the retrial.
Watanabe also informed the jury members that, while deliberating, they are not to attempt to gather information on their own, not to discuss the case with anyone else, and to not listen to or read any media accounts of the case.
During closing arguments, county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ken Norelli said that McCrory “brutally stabbed” Kerr outside Kerr’s van that was parked in Nawiliwili.
Norelli said that McCrory’s motive for the murder was that he was sick of Kerr, who was always borrowing money.
After the stabbing, Norelli said McCrory washed off the knife in a puddle of water and, with the help of Pierce, “loaded up the body of the dying Brent Kerr” into McCrory’s Ford Bronco.
Norelli pointed out that they drove north, turned around, and ran out of gas in front of the Coco Palms Resort in Wailua, where Kerr’s body was found.
Norelli said that they got gas at the nearby Rainbow Gas Mart.
“They tried to get out of town,” said Norelli.
Defense attorney Daniel Hempey said that Pierce likely killed Kerr.
“He walked off scott-free,” said Hempey.
Hempey pointed out that Pierce wanted to avoid a murder charge, and therefore changed his story.
“He starts out with, ‘I wasn’t there,'” at the gas station, said Hempey.
Hempey said that Pierce owned the murder weapon, a pocket knife.
“Would a killer return a knife to its rightful owner?” asked Hempey.
The defense attorney pointed out that a witness testified that she was passing by the resort at about 3 a.m. on the day that the body was found. He said that the witness saw two men fighting, and that one had a cut on his right cheek.
Hempey said that Kerr had a cut on his right cheek, and he asked the jury not to ignore Kerr’s injury.
“Are you going to ignore that? You just can’t close your eyes,” said Hempey.
Pierce said that McCrory killed Kerr in Nawiliwili, and there he is fighting in front of the Coco Palms two hours later, said Hempey.
“Did Mr. McCrory inflict the fatal blow? You have a dramatic task ahead of you,” said Hempey.
- Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or email@example.com.