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Ruling frees convicted man


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POSTED: Thursday, December 25, 2008

WAILUKU » A man whose conviction in a fatal stabbing in 1995 was overturned by U.S. District Judge David Ezra is spending the holidays with his family on Maui.

Federal Magistrate Leslie Kobayashi ordered Taryn Christian released Tuesday on $100,000 bail, pending an appeal of Ezra's decision by the Maui prosecutor's office.

Christian's mother, Lori, and stepfather, Paul Smith, live in Kula.

Keith Shigetomi, Christian's attorney in the appeal, said Christian should be released because the wrong man was found guilty.

“;I think it's long overdue, and it's a step in the right direction,”; Shigetomi said.

Ezra ruled Sept. 30 that two defense witnesses should not have been excluded at trial. The witnesses allegedly heard another man confess to the killing of Vilmar Cabaccang.

Cabaccang was stabbed to death after pursuing a car thief near his home in Kihei on July 14, 1995.

Maui prosecutors are appealing Ezra's decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Maui Deputy Prosecutor Peter Hanano said if his office loses the appeal, it will give strong consideration to pursuing a new trial.