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Judge will not toss out slaying victim's words


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POSTED: Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The lawyer for accused killer Patrick Deguair Jr. is asking a state judge to reconsider his decision to allow the prosecutor to use as evidence statements about Deguair that the victim made to police before his death.

“;It's a clear denial of my client's constitutional right to confrontation,”; said Neal Kugiya, Deguair's lawyer. “;It really tips the scale so far in favor of the prosecution that it's really unlikely my client will be able to get a fair trial.”;

Circuit Judge Michael Town said his decision to allow the use of statements by Jermaine Duckworth in Deguair's murder trial will probably make it harder to pick a jury.

Still, Town granted the prosecutor's request to use two statements Duckworth gave police in the months before his death to prove motive, intent, planning and identity.

Deguair, 31, is awaiting trial for second-degree murder in the execution-style killing of Duckworth, 24.

Tourists found Duckworth's body March 27, 2008, on rocks below a cliff near Keawaula Beach, more commonly known as Yokohama Bay beach. Duckworth was shot in the back of the head.

Injuries on his body suggest he fell or was pushed off the cliff.

Duckworth identified Deguair as one of four masked men disguised as DEA agents who forced their way into a home in Maili on Nov. 27, 2007, and robbed the occupants of a safe, narcotics, money and other items. Duckworth was also a suspect in the robbery.

In a second statement three months before his death, Duckworth told police Deguair broke his jaw and threatened to kill him for talking to police.

Kugiya said Deguair did not know he was a suspect in the home-invasion robbery, nor did he know, when Duckworth was killed, that Duckworth had accused him of being one of the robbers.

Last March, an Oahu grand jury returned an indictment charging Deguair and Malufafo Vito, 31, with burglary, robbery, kidnapping and using firearms in connection with the Maili robbery.

Town had earlier denied the prosecutor's request to try Deguair for the robbery and the murder at the same time.