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Missing Maui woman’s ex-boyfriend wants murder case dropped

WAILUKU — A man indicted for murder in the disappearance of his former Maui girlfriend is seeking to have the case dismissed.

Moreira “Mo” Monsalve, 46, was last seen in 2014 at ex-boyfriend Bernard Brown’s Wailuku apartment, about two weeks after she moved out. Those who knew the couple called it a volatile relationship.

In 2019, a Maui grand jury indicted Brown, who was brought back to the island from California to face a murder charge.

Brown, 49, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

His request to have the case dismissed alleges insufficient evidence, conflicts of interest and excessive use of hearsay in a grand jury proceeding, The Maui News reported Friday.

“This is a no-body homicide case,” Deputy Prosecutor Robert Rivera said at a hearing on the defense request.

The testimony was necessary to establish Brown as being jealous and controlling and to show Monsalve’s close ties to family and friends, he said.

“That demonstrates that she had no motive to disappear, and if he hadn’t killed her, she would still be here today,” Rivera said.

In December, Judge Peter Cahill granted a defense motion and dismissed the case, but Brown was re-indicted about two weeks later.

Defense attorney Keith Shigetomi said the latest request needs to be granted because it raises the same issues that led to the first dismissal.

In seeking a new indictment, prosecutors “simply did the same thing” Shigetomi said.

He is asking for the dismissal to be with prejudice so Brown couldn’t be indicted again.

Cahill will continue Thursday’s hearing in June. He said he needed time to review the transcript of the first grand jury proceeding and compare it with the grand jury proceeding last year.

The conflicts of interest claims involve a grand juror who reported knowing Monsalve’s daughter and another juror whose stepsister is Rivera’s wife, the Wailuku newspaper reported.

Both grand jurors said they could be fair and impartial when evaluating the evidence, Rivera said.

“Remarkably, we do have grand jurors who know people in the case,” Cahill said. “Maybe it’s happening with more frequency than one might think.”
Source: The Garden Island

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