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Victim's interviews allowed in trial


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POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

In two interviews with police before his death, slaying victim Jermaine Duckworth identified the man now accused of killing him as one of the robbers in an armed, home-invasion robbery in Maili, according to transcripts of the interviews.

Duckworth, 24, was also a suspect in the robbery.

In the second interview, Duckworth told a Honolulu police detective that Patrick Deguair Jr. broke his jaw and threatened to kill him for talking to police.

Three months later, on March 27, 2008, tourists found Duckworth's body on some rocks below a cliff near Keawaula Beach, also known as Yokohama Bay beach. He died of a gunshot to the back of his head.

Those police interviews will now be used against Deguair, 31, Duckworth's accused killer, who is also awaiting trial in state court for the Nov. 27, 2007, home-invasion robbery and the April 3, 2008, robbery of Aiea Cue.

State Circuit Court Judge Michael Town approved the use of the interviews as evidence in the murder trial but rejected the prosecutor's request to combine Deguair's trials for the murder and the home-invasion robbery.

Police said there are other witnesses who identified Deguair and one other defendant as two of the four masked men who forced their way into a Kulaapuni Street home disguised as DEA agents.

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An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment in March charging Deguair and Malufafo Vito, 31, each with first-degree burglary and six counts each of first-degree robbery, kidnapping and using a firearm to commit the crimes. The indictment also charges Vito with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The victims told police the robbers wore baseball caps that had the letters “;DEA”; on the front. They also wore T-shirts identifying themselves as Drug Enforcement Administration special agents. Police said the robbers took a safe, narcotics, money and other items from the home.

Two of the victims told police they recognized the voice of one of the robbers as that of someone they knew as “;Pat”; from Ewa Beach. They said during the robbery that Pat had been armed with a handgun with an attached laser sight.

Police said they showed the witnesses a photographic lineup and they identified Deguair as Pat.

The victims said one of the other robbers was armed with a black revolver that he used to threaten one of them and hit another one of them on the head. They also said the robber took his mask off during the robbery and called one of them by name.

In his second interview with police on Dec. 12, 2007, Duckworth identified Vito as one of the other robbers.

Police said five of the victims picked out Vito from a photographic lineup as the robber who took off his mask.

The victims said the robbers fled the home in a sport utility vehicle. They called police, who spotted the vehicle in Kapolei, tried to stop it and followed it to Oneula Beach Park in Ewa, where it stopped in an area called Hau Bush.

Police said the occupants fled the vehicle on foot and when they searched the area, they found Duckworth hiding in brush near the SUV. He was wearing the same kind of T-shirt the robbers wore, and nearby were two baseball caps resembling the ones the robbers wore. Police said they also found jewelry taken in the robbery sticking out of Duckworth's pants pocket.

Police interviewed Duckworth the following day. In that first interview and another a month later, Duckworth said he didn't want to participate in the robbery because he knew the victims. He said Deguair dropped him off before the robbery and picked him up after. He said one of the other robbers gave him the jewelry in the SUV.

Police said one of the victims identified Duckworth as one of the robbers based on his pants, shoes and posture.

Police said other witnesses said Deguair took Duckworth to a home in Waipahu early in the morning of March 27, 2008, bound him with duct tape, urged him to confess to squealing on him, then took him away in an SUV hours before tourists found Duckworth's body at Yokohama Bay.

Police said that besides Deguair and Duckworth, there were two others in the SUV that left the Waipahu home. Both of them are Deguair's co-defendants in the Aiea Cue robbery.

Police also said they have video of the rented SUV going through a car wash twice following Duckworth's disappearance and a .22 caliber handgun with an attached silencer they believe was used to killed him. They said they found Duckworth's DNA on the handgun.

Police said that when police arrested Deguair in a Pagoda Hotel room April 3 last year, they found the same kind of T-shirt used in the home-invasion robbery, ski masks, a rifle, ammunition, tools, gloves and documents with Deguair's name on them.