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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 7, 2002

New trial sought in '91 Big Island slaying

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — A man convicted of the 1991 slaying of a woman at a Big Island cemetery is seeking a new trial.

Judge Riki May Amano met in her chambers yesterday with Tad Mason's new court-appointed counsel, John Moran, and Deputy Prosecutor Jake Matsukawa. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Mason, now 29, is confined in a prison in Florence, Ariz. He filed a series of motions seeking a new trial and claiming his court-appointed defense attorney was ineffective during his 1995 trial.

Earlier, he sought to overturn his conviction for second-degree murder and kidnapping because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, saying then-Deputy Prosecutor Brenda Carreira cried in front of the jury. Judge Greg Nakamura said the crying was inappropriate but not a cause for reversal.

Mason, who a witness said referred to himself as the "Prince of Darkness," was found guilty of killing Juliana Laysa, 23. According to testimony, he bludgeoned the woman on the head, stepped on her neck, stabbed her in the stomach with a tire iron and twisted it, then urinated on her. He denied the charges.

Before his trial, Mason twice escaped from Hawai'i, only to be returned under extradition orders from Minnesota and Nevada.