Prosecutors fined $2,000
Key evidence was found just before the start of a Kauai trial
LIHUE » A $2,000 sanction against Kauai prosecutors was levied yesterday after they found a key piece of evidence just days prior to a murder trial was set to begin.
The murder retrial of William McCrory was set to begin Jan. 9 but has since been postponed to March 20 after prosecutors uncovered a piece of evidence -- a police sketch, requested by the defense months ago.
According to arguments before Judge Kathleen Watanabe yesterday, the sketch was mentioned in a police report, but it was thought to be lost after McCrory's first trial.
The sketch, according to prosecutors, was found on Jan. 6 in the home of a retired Kauai detective after prosecutors asked Kauai police detectives to look for it.
Court-appointed defense attorney Daniel Hempey would likely have used the disappearance of the police sketch to disprove the prosecution's time line in the death of William "Kerby" Kerr.
Now, Hempey told Watanabe, his investigator must re-interview witnesses, issue new subpoenas and prepare for trial with the newly discovered sketch.
Watanabe issued the sanctions to pay for the incurred extra expenses.
"There was actual prejudice in preparation for this case," said Watanabe when she made her decision. "At the eve of trial, a piece of evidence pops up ... that may affect defense strategy."
Hempey said it is too early to comment on whether the sketch would help or hurt his case.
McCrory was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2001 death of Kerr, but that conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court because of an irrelevant and prejudicial witness in the first trial.