Saturday, September 11, 1999

Attempted murder trial:
Expert says gun fired within
an inch of cop’s body

By Pat Omandam


Closing arguments in the attempted murder trial of Peter Moses are expected to get underway Wednesday in Circuit Judge Marie Milks' courtroom.

Yesterday, a firearms expert testified that evidence from the uniform shorts and utility belt worn by injured Honolulu police officer Earl Haskell showed a gun was fired "within an inch" of Haskell's body.

"This sort of pattern did indicate to me that a gunshot was fairly close, very close to that belt and buckle when it was discharged," said Charles Davis, a retired Honolulu police officer who testified for the defense.

Moses, 21, is charged with the attempted murders of two officers. He also faces theft and other related charges.

There is conflicting testimony in the case between Haskell and Moses over what happened during a scuffle. The scuffle started after Moses refused arrest for possible burglary of a rental car at Makapuu Lighthouse scenic point on Sept. 11, 1998.

Haskell testified that Moses shot him once in the stomach using the gun of police officer John Veneri, who with officer Laura Chong arrived to assist Haskell.

Moses testified that he didn't shoot anyone and did not know who fired the weapon. Moses said he found the gun on the ground after he and Haskell fell over a pillar and rolled down an embankment.

Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader yesterday called Haskell and Veneri back to the witness stand to get their accounts of the struggle, since they were vastly different from Moses's account on Thursday.

Veneri said his gun did not fall out of his holster, and that he did not see any gun on the ground. He said it was between eight and 10 seconds after Haskell and Moses fell over that he heard a gunshot, at which time both he and Chong took cover behind a vehicle.

Haskell also said he never saw Veneri's gun fall out of his holster and didn't see any gun on the ground. Haskell said he did see Moses with the gun standing over and threatening him.

Milks said all evidence has been presented, and ordered jurors back at 9 a.m. Wednesday for closing arguments.

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