Prosecution acts to secure witness testimony in murder case

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney took steps to ensure that difficult witnesses will be available at trial, or at least their testimony will be made available before the Sept. 17 murder trial of Vicente Kotekapika Hilario.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano of the 5th Circuit granted prosecutor motions for deposition statements from David Manaku, Kyler Hansen Loo and Angienora Crawford.

Contact with one of the witnesses has ceased, said County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Murphy. In the event a witness cannot be contacted, the material witness order would ensure they are in the state for trial.

Defense attorney Keith Shigetomi did not object to the motions, but said the depositions should not substitute as a trial witness if it is possible for them to be present in court.

Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jake Delaplane were also present to argue the motion. The discussion included holding witnesses in custody during the week of trial they are scheduled to testify.

Valenciano was concerned with custody issues when the trial is expected to last a month. He said the court was not interested in a conditional motion so far in advance of the trial.

Iseri-Carvalho recommended an update of the witness depositions prior to the August pre-trial conference. At that time it would be more appropriate to consider follow-through with appropriate motions.

Valenciano scheduled a status hearing for Aug. 21.

Shigetomi expressed concern that documents have not been filed to show whether witnesses would be given a plea agreement.

Valenciano said that would be an appropriate motion for the status hearing.

Shigetomi also expressed concern with prosecutor compliance of forensics lab testing and witness transcripts from the grand jury. Murphy said they are communicating with Honolulu Police Department about turning over evidence.

Hilario, 25, of Anahola is accused of the shooting death of 34-year-old Aureo Moore near Anahola Beach Park on Dec. 17, 2010. He is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and bribery of a witness.

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