POSTED: Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Accused killer Motta to take stand

Accused killer Ethan Motta is scheduled to testify in his own defense today in his murder and racketeering trial in federal court.

Motta and his cousin Rodney Joseph Jr. are the accused gunmen in the Jan. 7, 2004, midday shooting at Pali Golf Course. A third man, Kevin A. Gonsalves, pleaded guilty last year to racketeering for his participation in the shooting and is serving a 330-month federal prison sentence.

Romelius Corpuz Jr. and Lepo Taliese died after they were shot multiple times in the back. Tinoimalu Sao survived a single gunshot to his face.

The government says the shooting was the result of a violent struggle for control of illegal gambling operations on Oahu among competing factions. After four weeks of testimony from prosecution witnesses, the government rested its case yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway then asked Joseph and Motta whether they wished to testify in their own defense.

Joseph said, “;I'm not going to be testifying.”;

However, Motta told Mollway that he will take the stand.

“;My decision is to testify,”; he said.


Hokule'a suffers another delay

The Hokule'a failed again yesterday to set sail to the Palmyra Atoll, due to cloudy weather conditions.

The historic canoe was to set off on a monthlong voyage to the atoll Saturday, but gusty conditions held it back.

Crew members remain on standby and will monitor weather conditions.

Palmyra Atoll is about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii. The voyage is the first of at least 12 open-ocean training missions crew members will take to prepare for the Hokule'a's worldwide voyage in three years.