LIHU‘E — As the Vicente Hilario murder trial enters its sixth week, the focus remains on the credibility of key witness David Manaku.
Hilario is on trial for the killing of Aureo Moore, for which he was convicted after a 2013 trial. The case was remanded for a new trial on appeal, which began last month with Hilario serving as his own attorney.
Manaku and Hilario have both testified that the other was the shooter in the killing, which occurred at Anahola Beach Park on the morning of Dec. 17, 2010.
This March, Manaku took the stand, reiterating that he had seen Hilario shoot and kill Moore.
Hilario questioned former Kaua‘i Police Department Detective Joseph Adric on Tuesday, an investigator in the case, about the series of false statements Manaku made to police following the killing.
Manaku originally denied any involvement in the shooting, then changed his story to say that he and Hilario had been waiting together before Hilario shot Moore. Later, he said Hilario had approached from the road before shooting Moore, and then reported Hilario had actually emerged from trails near the park.
In early versions of the story, he said only he and Hilario were present, before reporting that a third man, Kyler Hansen-Loo, was also present.
Under questioning from Hilario, Adric acknowledged that he had discussed discrepancies between Manaku’s testimony and that of various other witnesses over a course of a series of interviews following the killing.
Hilario said that Manaku could have used this information to change his story to better match the prosecution’s narrative. Manaku’s later statements do appear to be better aligned with the statements of other witnesses, including Angienora “Pua” Crawford, who testified she met with Hilario shortly before the shooting.
“The risk you’re taking with that is things he may not have known before, he could now know,” Hilario told Adric.
Adric described revealing this information to Manaku as an “investigative tool.”
On questioning from Hilario, Adric said he had received an instruction from prosecutors at the time to “clean up” some of the discrepancies between Manaku and other witness testimony. He later added that “clean up” was a bad choice of words.
Manaku acknowledged at the previous trial that he was influenced to change his story when he learned that Hansen-Loo planned to testify that Manaku was the shooter. He said he had previously been protecting Hansen-Loo.
Adric said there was “no doubt” Manaku had lied frequently during the course of the investigation.
“About the shooter, you don’t think he’s lying?” Hilario asked.
“I don’t think he’s lying about that,” Adric responded.
These issues were brought up in the previous trial when Hilario’s former attorney argued Manaku’s immunity should have been pulled as a result of his continued false statements to the police.
The pace of the murder trial has slowed to a crawl, with Hilario yet to begin his defense as of Tuesday afternoon, more than a month after the start of the trial. For comparison, jurors reached a verdict in his first trial one month after it began.
Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island
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