LIHU‘E — Judge Trudy Senda of the 5th District Court dismissed on Thursday the murder charges against Vicente Kotekapika Hilario, after learning that a grand jury had indicted Hilario the day before, sending the case straight to the 5th Circuit Court.
“In view of the fact that Mr. Hilario has now been indicted, this case … will be dismissed without prejudice,” Senda said in court.
The case had progressed through at least four preliminary hearings at circuit court, but only two witnesses had testified. On Thursday, two key witnesses were supposed to testify. Another key witness, plus state Forensic Pathologist Alvin Omori, were scheduled to take the stand today.
But on Wednesday at 5:12 p.m. a grand jury of 16 citizens indicted Hilario on five charges: First-degree murder, second-degree murder, retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and bribery of a witness.
Senda explained that when a grand jury indicts a suspect, the case goes directly to circuit court. If the case had been pending in district court, it’s dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the charges could be brought up again later.
On Dec. 17, Kapa‘a resident Aureo Moore, 34, was shot and killed in the middle of a public road in broad daylight near Anahola Beach Park. Hilario was arrested a few hours later, and charged with second-degree murder.
County prosecutors later added a first-degree murder charge, because the case involved the killing of a witness to a crime.
Honolulu-based attorney Keith Shigetomi has taken Hilario’s defense during the preliminary hearings at district court. The court awarded a private attorney to Hilario because the Public Defender Office had represented Moore in another case. It would become a conflict of interest if a public defender represented Hilario.
Senda said once the case goes to the circuit court, the presiding judge will have the discretion to appoint Hilario’s defense attorney.
“However, I am planning to provide information to the circuit court judge … so that he or she will be aware of the fact that we already have attorneys that have invested time and energy in terms of getting up to speed on the facts and dealing with the Office of Prosecuting Attorney,” Senda said.
When the case was still pending in district court, Hilario’s bail had been set at $100,000. Hilario did not post bail; he had been held at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center. Now that the case has moved up to circuit court, the bail has increased significantly.
“The warrant on the bail that was approved by Judge Valenciano was $2 million,” County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said.
Shigetomi did not object to the state’s request for bail.
David Kawaihalau-Manaku was scheduled to testify on Thursday. He had been arrested around the same time as Hilario, and charged with second-degree murder. He was later released pending investigation, and became a key witness in the case.
Kawaihalau-Manaku was also granted a Honolulu-based private attorney, Guy Matsunaga, because representation by the Public Defender Office would mean a conflict of interest.
Kawaihalau-Manaku was previously scheduled to take the stand on Jan. 10, but Matsunaga was reportedly ill and could not travel to Kaua‘i. On Wednesday, Matsunaga was in court and Senda confirmed that he had submitted a medical disability certificate.
Angienora Crawford, also known as Pua Crawford, was supposed to testify today. She was also awarded a private attorney, Nelson Goo, for the same reason that Kawaihalau-Manaku and Hilario got a private attorney.
Det. James Miller, who had been on the case from the beginning, was also supposed to take the stand today.
All witnesses were notified that the circuit court case has been dismissed, Senda said.
• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIHU‘E — A grand jury in the 5th Circuit Court of the state ofHawai‘i indicted on Wednesday Vicente Kotekapika Hilario on fivecharges: murder in the first degree , murder in the second degree,retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and briberyof a witness.
• Count 1: On or about the 17th of December, 2010, in the Countyof Kaua‘i, State of Hawai‘i, Vicente Kotekapika Hilario didintentionally or knowingly cause the death of Aureo Arick Moore, aperson known by Vicente Kotekapika Hilario to be a witness in acriminal prosecution and the killing was related to Aureo ArickMoore’s status as a witness, thereby committing the offense ofMurder in the First Degree, in violation of Sections 707-701(1)(c)and 706-656 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.
• Count 2: On or about the 17th of December, 2010, in the Countyof Kaua‘i, State of Hawai‘i, Vicente Kotekapika Hilario didintentionally or knowingly cause the death of Aureo Arick Moore,thereby committing the offense of Murder in the Second Degree, inviolation of Sections 707-701.5 and 706-656 of the Hawai‘i RevisedStatutes. Vicente Kotekapika Hilario is subject to sentencing inaccordance with Section 706.660.1 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statuteswhere he had a firearm in his possession or threatened its use orused the firearm while engaged in the commission of a felony,whether the firearm was loaded or not, and whether operable ornot.
• Count 3: On or about the 17th of December, 2010, in the Countyof Kaua‘i, State of Hawai‘i, Vicente Kotekapika Hilario did useforce upon Aureo Arick Moore, because of the attendance of AureoArick Moore or any testimony given, or record, or document, orother object produced, by the said Aureo Arick Moore in an officialproceeding, thereby committing the offense of Retaliating Against aWitness, in violation of Section 710-1072.2 of the Hawai‘i RevisedStatutes.
• Count 4: On or about the 17th of December, 2010, in the Countyof Kaua‘i, State of Hawai‘i, Vicente Kotekapika Hilario did useforce upon Aureo Arick Moore, a witness or a person VicenteKotekapika Hilario believes is about to be called as a witness inan official proceeding, with the intent to influence the testimonyof Aureo Arick Moore and/or induce Aureo Arick Moore to avoid legalprocess summoning him to testify and/or induce Aureo Arick Moore toabsent himself from an official proceeding to which he has beenlegally summoned, thereby committing the offense of Intimidating aWitness, in violation of Section 710-1071(1)(a/b/c) of the Hawai‘iRevised Statutes.
• Count 5: On or about the 23rd day of August, 2010 and up to onor about the 17th day of December, 2010 in the County of Kaua‘i,State of Hawai‘i, Vicente Kotekapika Hilario, believing AngienoraCrawford was to be called as a witness in an official proceeding,did confer, offer, or agree to confer directly or indirectly, abenefit upon said Angienora Crawford with intent to influence thetestimony of Angienora Crawford and/or induce Angienora Crawford toavoid legal process summoning her to testify and/or induceAngienora Crawford to absent herself from an official proceeding towhich she has been legally summoned, thereby committing the offenseof Bribery of a Witness in violation of Section 710-1070(1)(a/b/c)of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.