Aiea shooting case
results in a mistrial

Jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision in the trial of four men accused of a drug robbery gone awry that ended in the death of a 49-year-old Aiea man.

Circuit Judge Michael Town declared a mistrial yesterday after jurors indicated they could not reach agreement even if given more time to deliberate. The jury of nine men and three women had been deliberating for eight days.

Micah Kanahele, 24, Rosalino Ramos, 24, and Jason Rumbawa, 25, were on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Greg Morishima. Anthony Brown, 24, a fourth defendant, was charged with first-degree robbery.

Morishima was visiting friends at a Pamoho Place residence when he was gunned down in the carport by a group of masked gunmen four days before Halloween 2003. Morishima allegedly had commented that they were early for Halloween and laughed before the masked men opened fire.

Deputy Prosecutor Lucianne Khalaf declined comment, noting it would be inappropriate because the case has been set for retrial June 20.

At one point in their deliberations, jurors were split 11-1 for guilty as to one defendant, but that later changed. Jurors declined comment after they were excused.

Defense attorneys for all four of the defendants said they were disappointed the jury was unable to reach a decision but were satisfied that the jurors had worked hard.

"We all went in there believing our clients were not guilty, but the jury did a very excellent job in trying to reach an honest verdict and getting this straightened out in their mind," said Art Ross, attorney for Rumbawa.

Jeffrey Hawk, attorney for Brown who spoke with the jurors later, said they indicated that they had problems with the evidence.

Kevin Harris, a fifth defendant, pleaded guilty earlier to a reduced charge of second-degree robbery and agreed to testify against his co-defendants. Harris, the state's key witness, told police that he was present at the shooting but denied firing his weapon.

He said he and all four defendants had driven to the Pamoho Place home after two unsuccessful attempts earlier that evening to rob houses in the Aiea area where Kanahele claimed drugs were available or drug dealers lived.

Harris claimed he had been invited to join the group earlier that day by Kanahele, who was in need of money to pay off debts. He said Kanahele was the one who directed them to the homes they were to hit and also provided the weapons.

All four defendants denied being at the shooting and contended Harris was making up the story to deflect blame from himself.

Kanahele, Ramos and Harris are also awaiting trial in a separate shooting that occurred five days later in the parking lot of the Pearl City Longs. One man was killed and another wounded in what police described as a botched marijuana sale.

E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com