Giovanni Corpuz accused of killing elderly man

LIHUE — With less than two months to go before a murder trial, the attorneys involved are attempting to finalize the witness list and gather evidence.

Giovanni Corpuz appeared before Judge Kathleen Watanabe on second-degree murder and firearms charges Tuesday morning. He was in court to discuss a motion to dismiss the indictment, a motion to compel discovery and a motion to determine the voluntariness of his statements.

Jennifer Winn, first deputy prosecuting attorney, said she was waiting on information from the defense, like a witness list and any evidence the state hasn’t seen.

“We’re a month and a half from the trial and it’s still, ‘I’ll give it to you sometime.’” she said. “That’s the concern I have.”

But Corpuz’s attorney, Mark Zenger, said he is still waiting on some information, including a report from a firearms expert. He also said he needs time to go over the 144-page witness list.

Zenger expects to be ready by the Jan. 17 trial date, and the only thing that could hold it back is if it takes longer to get the reports.

“If we need more time, I’ll file for a continuance,” he said.

Corpuz, 44, is accused of shooting and killing 88-year-old Amby Cruz of Omao in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2014. He was arrested in Taiwan while en route to the Philippines on Jan. 10.

He is also charged with carrying or using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony. If convicted, the state is seeking a life sentence for inflicting death or serious injury on a person ages 60 or older.

Because Corpuz’s first language is Ilocano, a dialect of the Philippines, Winn and Zenger discussed the voluntariness of his statements to police during Tuesday’s proceedings.

“Oftentimes when people speak English as a second language and have been here a long time, they have English skills sufficient enough to deal with everyday situations,” he said. “But when they come to court, words like ‘jurisdiction,’ ‘exculpatory’ and any other number of words within the lexicon of open court that aren’t spoken out in the community requires interpretation.”

Corpuz will be back in court again on Dec. 14 to discuss the status of the discovery.

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