Lifeguard testifies Moore was ‘smoking’ from gunshot wounds

LIHU‘E — The cross-examination of the witness that lured Aureo Moore to Anahola Beach Park continued Tuesday in 5th Circuit Court, and a lifeguard testified that he found Moore still alive as he administered first aid.

Four witnesses took the stand in the first-degree murder trial of Vicente Kote Kapika Hilario, including a lifeguard and two police officers. It is now in its second week of testimony, following four weeks of jury selection.

Angienora Crawford concluded her testimony as a prosecution witness. She was granted transactional immunity Monday as she testified that she dropped Moore off at Anahola Beach Park sometime before 11 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2010.

Crawford said Monday that she was meeting Hilario in Anahola to buy narcotic pain pills. She dropped Moore off at the overlook above Anahola Beach Park just before receiving a number of pills for free from Hilario. She also testified that she brought her two children along as well.

Hilario is charged with the shooting death of Moore, 34. He is also charged with second-degree murder in the alternative, retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and bribery of a witness.

After nearly an hour of revisiting testimony from the day before, court-appointed defense attorney Keith Shigetomi asked Crawford if she saw Hilario in the area when she dropped off Moore at the park.

“No,” Crawford said.

“What you are certain about is that ‘Vinny’ could not have been at the tree waiting for Aureo to be dropped off by you, and have done something immediately after you dropped him off?” Shigetomi asked.

“Correct,” Crawford said.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes followed with questions to show Crawford had at least somewhat of a friendship with Moore, while her relationship with Hilario was strictly as a supplier of illegal prescription pain medication.

 Crawford said she never considered that he would be murdered. She testified to arranging the meeting to get six oxycodone pills from Hilario, and expected Moore would talk over whatever situation he found himself in at the beach park.

“I was only thinking of myself,” Crawford said.

Lifeguards tried to

save Moore

The first afternoon witness was Kaimakana “Kai” Wedemeyer. He is a county water safety officer and was on duty with fellow lifeguard Carl Ragasa on the day of the shooting.

Under questioning from Mendes, Wedemeyer said he heard five staggered gunshots — a burst of three, and then two. It is not odd to hearing shooting in the area, he said, as there are hunters and people who shoot the chickens.

He scanned the area with his binoculars, however, and said it was immediately clear that something was not right. A woman near the park entrance had a look of alarm facing up toward Manai Road area where two men were running toward the bush.

One man without a shirt was about 10 paces in front of the a man wearing what appeared to be a teal green and black shirt with a hoodie pulled up over his head. The man had his hands in his pockets and he couldn’t see his face.

It was odd because it was so hot to be dressed like that, Wedemeyer said. The man with no shirt appeared upset and was running backwards, lifting his arms at times as if arguing with the second man, he said.

The continued running up an embankment and toward Kukuihale Road, partially obscured by bushes, he said.

Wedemeyer then jumped into the lifeguard truck with intent to follow the two men. Upon driving out of the park entrance and to the dirt turnaround area of Manai Road, he said he stopped and turned all his attention to the man on the side of the road with what appeared to be gunshot wounds.

The man was still crawling toward the road, he said. He may have moved as far as five feet before he started administering first aid.

Wedemeyer said that Moore’s wounds were still smoking and so hot that it burned through his gloves when he applied pressure to slow the bleeding.

Ocean Safety Captain Randy Ortiz was nearby and responded to the call, arriving minutes before police and fire responders. Wedemeyer said the two worked on stabilizing Moore before the medics took over.

Moore was in and out of consciousness, moaning at times and gasping for air, he said.

Mendes showed photos taken by police at the scene. They showed Wedemeyer, Ortiz and Ragasa all working to bandage the wounds and stabilize Moore. One photo showed two shell casings near Moore’s head, and Wedemeyer said he told the others not to touch them as possible evidence.

Questioned by Shigetomi, Wedemeyer said it is about 250 yards from the lifeguard tower to Manai Road. He looked across a dirt beach road and parking lot, thick vegetation and up a 75 foot embankment, and he could not identify Moore.

It was hard to describe the physical characteristics from such distance and without some sense of scale, he said. The shirtless man appeared to have a medium to heavy build, and it was hard to guess the size of the man with the hoodie.

Police officers testify

Kaua‘i Police Officer Aaron Bandmann testified to his work in taking statements and questioning relatives of the suspects that lived in Anahola. He is also the officer who bagged suspect David Manaku’s hands after he was escorted to the highway following his detainment.

Bandmann also administered the photo lineup of suspects to the two divers, Brehdan Kamibayashi and Austin Kekoa Alfiler, who said they witnessed three barefoot men running along Anahola Road.

The two men positively identified Jens Kyler Hanson-Loo as the first in the line of three, and David Manaku as the straggling third man. They said the middleman hid his face with a hoodie, and although they were give a photo lineup containing a picture of Hilario, the two did not identify him.

Kaua‘i Police Officer Makana Rivera testified as the officer who responded to the gun-point robbery of Moore on Aug. 22, 2010, on a pedestrian bridge between two supermarket plaza in Waipouli. He said that Crawford approached him in Safeway to offer a statement of what she witnessed.

The trial continues today and again on Friday, with Chief Judge Randal Valenciano presiding.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or


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