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Woman found guilty again of man's 1978 murder


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Had Maryann Bray accepted the state's plea offer, she would have already completed her prison sentence, said Keith Shigetomi, her lawyer.

Instead, Bray, 49, is facing a new life prison sentence and a new, and possibly longer, minimum amount of time she must remain in prison before she is eligible for parole.

A state jury deliberated just one day before finding Bray, formerly known as Maryann Acker, guilty yesterday of murder in the 1978 shooting death of Lawrence Hasker.

Another jury found her guilty of the murder in 1982, but Circuit Judge Michael Town overturned the conviction in 2005 because the state withheld information about its key witness, Bray's former husband, William Acker, from Bray's lawyer.

Shigetomi said the state then asked Bray to plead guilty to manslaughter instead of going to trial for murder, but she refused.

“;She said, 'No, I didn't shoot and kill him,'”; Shigetomi said. “;She would've had her time served. She would've been done with this case.”;

In both trials, William Acker testified it was his then 18-year-old wife who shot and killed Hasker after they had robbed him. The state allowed Acker to plead guilty to robbery and granted him immunity from other charges in exchange for his testimony.

Bray testified it was Acker who killed Hasker.

“;The jury was able to see through Maryann (Bray's) lies and come to the same result,”; said Landon Murata, deputy prosecutor.

However, the jury did not find the state proved Bray used a firearm to commit the murder, suggesting they may have believed she was an accomplice. Use of a firearm would have allowed Town to impose a mandatory minimum sentence. He will sentence her in November.

Following her 1982 conviction, the Hawaii Paroling Authority set Bray's minimum at 30 years before she would have been eligible for parole. When she appears in front of the parole board for her new conviction, it will not be as the person found guilty of pulling the trigger, Shigetomi said.

In 1978 Acker was found guilty of killing Cesario Arauza in a robbery in California five days after Hasker's murder. Bray was convicted of being an accomplice. They were allowed to serve their Hawaii prison terms in California at the same time they served their life prison sentences for Arauza's murder.

Law students in the Post-Conviction Justice Project at the University of California School of Law took up Bray's case in 2000. Their efforts led to her getting a new trial.