Trial opens on Kauai
in murder of transient

Prosecutors say DNA shows the
victim was in the defendant's car

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> William McCrory, described by police as a transient and alcoholic, went on trial yesterday for the murder of Brent Kerr, another homeless man, in an apparent dispute over a bottle of vodka.

The stabbing took place early on the morning of Oct. 26 outside a broken-down van that Kerr -- known as Kerby -- lived in near Nawiliwili Park.

Cruise ships that visit Kauai dock only a short distance away.

Billy Pierce, McCrory's best friend, testified in a preliminary hearing that he loaned his knife to McCrory just before the murder, later washed blood off it, helped McCrory load Kerr's body into his car and then helped McCrory dump the body.

McCrory says he did not kill Kerr.

"William McCrory didn't know him all that well. There were many people who were angry at Kerr. He owed money to a lot of people," said Jim Itamura, a public defender representing McCrory, in an opening statement to the jury.

Prosecutor Mike Soong told the jury that evidence would show police were led to McCrory through a retired prison guard who saw McCrory and Pierce at a service station shortly after the murder.

McCrory's car had run out of gas and he and Pierce dumped Kerr's body into some bushes before heading on foot to a gas station, Pierce told police.

The former guard knew Pierce and gave him money for gas.

Police located McCrory's car several days after the murder and found a large pool of blood in the car.

Soong said DNA tests showed it was Kerr's blood.

The trial is expected to conclude by the end of the week.

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