Man acquitted of abuse charges

LIHUE — After 50 minutes of deliberations and a two-day trial, a jury Tuesday acquitted a 48-year-old Lihue man on charges of domestic abuse for allegedly punching his former girlfriend repeatedly.

“We are pleased with the jury’s quick verdict, which reflected the lack of credible evidence presented by the prosecution,” Defense attorney Shauna Cahill told The Garden Island.

Cahill told jurors during closing arguments that there were inconsistencies between the witnesses who testified against her client, Joseph Lopez III.

It took the complaining witness more than an hour and a half to “put her story together,” so she could file a report to the police, Cahill said.

Lopez III, a homeless man who lived with his former girlfriend outside the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, was charged with abuse of household or family members for an alleged incident that occurred on Feb. 13.

Cahill said pictures of the alleged injuries were inconsistent with what the complaining witness told police. Her client fully cooperated with police and was polite to the complaining witness when he saw her again at 7-Eleven later the day of the reported abuse, she told jurors.

Three witnesses testified Tuesday, including a bounty hunter who was there on the day of the alleged incident and drove the complaining witness around Lihue and two Kauai police officers.

“We’re disappointed, but we thank the jurors for their service,” said prosecuting attorney Justin Kollar. “These cases are challenging and I give deputy prosecuting attorney Jenna Tatsey a lot of credit for stepping up and taking these cases to trial.”

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