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Saturday, August 6, 2005



Juror’s departure forces
mistrial in attempted
murder case

A judge has declared a mistrial in the attempted murder case of musician Aziel Toeaina after a juror told the court he could no longer deliberate for medical reasons.

Toeaina, 27, was accused of firing at least three shots at music promoter Tupu Alualu in May 2003 outside the Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center, allegedly over a dispute involving money.

A juror notified the court early Tuesday after the jury had deliberated for a full day on Monday that he could no longer continue.

The juror, who had suffered a stroke in the past year, submitted a doctor's note after seeing his doctor on Tuesday. The doctor noted he was suffering from stress and elevated blood pressure from the deliberations.

Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall recessed the deliberations until yesterday to allow the juror to rest. The juror, upon returning yesterday, requested that he be excused.

Deputy Prosecutor Lucianne Khalaf expressed concerns over having to expend resources for a second trial and the defendant not wanting to go thorough it a second time. She suggested that their concerns might be addressed by another delay to give the juror more time to recuperate. The juror indicated yesterday he did not want to continue and could not continue even if the court gave the jury a one- to two-week break.

Crandall granted the defense's request for a mistrial to the state after deputy public defender Walter Rodby objected to proceeding with the remaining 11 jurors. A defendant has the right to have a jury of 12 hear the case against him.

A new trial was set for Nov. 7.

Rodby said later that his client was disappointed. "We were hoping to get an acquittal," he said.

Alualu, a former University of Hawaii football player, and Silila Malepeai were founding members of Mafiuso Entertainment, which helped Toeaina on his first of three compact discs.

When the trial opened July 26, Khalaf told the jury that Toeaina had threatened to kill Alualu "the next time I see you" and was making good on that threat.

Toeaina contends Alualu was the one who carried the gun, fired the shots, then struck him with it when it jammed. Earlier that night, Alualu allegedly struck Toeaina outside the bar, Rodby said.

Toeaina, who Rodby said sings rhythm and blues, had a "handshake agreement" with Mafiuso to produce his first CD. But Alualu had a falling out with Toeaina, Rodby said.



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