Miranda defense a non-starter in Hilario trial

LIHU‘E — A murder suspect’s remarks to police were voluntary and admissible for trial, a 5th Circuit judge ruled on Thursday.

The first-degree murder trial of Vicente Kotekapika Hilario will not go to trial on May 14 and is now set for Sept. 17. Availability issues of the court and defense were ironed and Hilario himself voiced concerns that he has now spent 16 months awaiting a trial.

In the end, Hilario and his attorney felt the April date would not be fair to the case as they expect lab testing evidence and transcripts to return in early May. They agreed to the September continuance after two alternate dates did not work out in a trial that could last four to six weeks.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano ruled in favor of deputy prosecuting attorney John Murphy’s motion to admit evidence from an August 2010 robbery case involving Hilario.

Kaua‘i Police Sergeant Sandy Wakumoto was called to testify on the procedures taken to read Hilario his Miranda warning and whether he understood his rightswhen he allegedly made a voluntary statement.

Defense attorney Keith Shigetomi argued that police informed Hilario that he had the right to an attorney, but that they never made it clear he could request one and that questioning would stop.

Assistant Chief Roy Asher testified that Hilario was detained before his arrest, following the shooting death of 34 year-old Aureo Moore near Anahola Beach Park on Dec. 17, 2010.

Asher said Hilario’s hands were cuffed and covered with evidence bags to protect evidence as he was requested to return to the scene of the shooting.

Shigetomi argued that Hilario was not told he was under arrest but was cuffed, and so detention was an arrest. He argued that without the Miranda warning, Hilario’s statements were not admissible.

The judge ruled in favor of First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jake Deleplane’s motion. He said that Hilario’s detention was in effect an arrest and that his statements were voluntary and admissible.

Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho was also present.

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.

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