Hilario hearsay motion denied

LIHU‘E — A defense motion to dismiss the indictment in the first-degree murder case of Vicente Kotekapika Hilario was denied Tuesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Hilario, 25, of Anahola is accused of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and bribery of a witness.

Keith Shigetomi, defense counsel for Hilario, argued that transcripts of January 2010 grand jury statements contain excessive use of hearsay evidence and were used to show probable cause. He said the transcripts prejudiced the grand jury process that led to an indictment.

Shigetomi argued that the grand jury was not made aware that David Kawaihalau Manaku had incentive to offer statements as a co-defendants arrested shortly after the shooting death of 34 year-old Kapa‘a resident Aureo Moore near Anahola Beach Park on Dec. 17, 2010.

Manaku, Shigetomi added, initially did not offer a statement, but changed his mind possibly to implicate Hilario as witness rather than a defendant.

Because Manaku did not testify before the grand jury, the defense attorney argued that the panel never had a chance to consider his possible motive. Instead, Kaua‘i Police Lt. James Miller presented the details of Manaku’s statements to the grand jury as hearsay evidence, Shigetomi said.

County First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jake Delaplane argued that Manaku was technically unavailable during the grand jury process by refusing to testify, and so Miller’s testimony was appropriate.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano agreed with Delaplane, saying the testimony was presented accurately to the grand jury when Manaku asserted his Fifth Amendment right and made himself not available to the court.

To question the credibility of the testimony further would potentially tamper with the grand jury process, Valenciano said.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled April 12, and the jury trial is set for May 14 in 5th Circuit Court.

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