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Victim was aggressor, defendant testifies


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glenn Keohokapu Jr., charged with second-degree murder, said he armed himself with a knife because the victim brandished brass knuckles.

Keohokapu, 36, on trial in Circuit Court for the June 8 stabbing death of Steven Wilcox outside a Kaneohe karaoke bar, took the witness stand in his own defense yesterday. He said he stabbed Wilcox, 19, in self-defense.

Yesterday was the first time the jury heard about the brass knuckles. Before the trial, Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall ruled the item could not be introduced as evidence.

After the state rested its case and before Keohokapu presented his defense, Crandall reversed herself.

Honolulu Police Department evidence specialist Doryn Matsuda said the brass knuckles were in a plastic bag she retrieved from Castle Medical Center, where an ambulance had taken Wilcox after the stabbing. Matsuda said the unsealed bag also contained two pairs of shorts — one stained with blood — two-blood-stained shirts, $14 in cash, a pack of cigarettes, two sticks of chewing gum and a sock.

Keohokapu said he and his wife were arguing in the parking lot outside Club Komomai when Wilcox approached them and said, “;Brah, that's only one girl.”; Keohokapu said he told Wilcox that she was his wife and to mind his own business.

He said he met Wilcox for the first time earlier in Club Komomai when Wilcox bought him a drink. Keohokapu had accused another man in the bar of staring at his wife.

When Keohokapu told Wilcox to mind his own business, Wilcox took off his shirt, neck chain and watch, reached into has back pocket and showed him the brass knuckles, Keohokapu said. Keohokapu said he then reached into his car for his knife because the brass knuckles worried him.

Keohokapu said as he was backing up and dodging Wilcox's punches, he warned Wilcox twice, “;Stay away or I going poke you.”;

Keohokapu said he tripped over a curb at one point, fell backward and then quickly got up. He said Wilcox swung a punch with his left hand, and as he moved to his right to dodge the punch, he said, Wilcox “;wen' walk into my knife.”;

He said Wilcox took one more swing and asked him where he was going before he saw the blood shooting out from his chest.

Keohokapu said he dropped the knife, went to his car, got in and left with his wife.