Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Theft accusation led to murder, jury is told

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

Simmering resentment toward a neighbor suspected of stealing a dog cage off a truck led one Waipahu man to fatally shoot another on New Year's Day 2001, city deputy prosecutor Julian White told a Circuit Court jury yesterday.

White said David Torres, 64, who is on trial on a murder charge, had told other neighbors at least two weeks beforehand that he planned to kill Pio Ioane, 40, either on Christmas Day or New Year's Day, for stealing the cage from the bed of the pickup truck.

But Torres' attorney, Deputy Public Defender Todd Eddins, said it was Ioane's "rapidly escalating and unpredictable behavior" that caused the fatal confrontation.

Eddins said Ioane, who had a high blood-alcohol level and who had smoked crystal methamphetamine, walked up to Torres, told him he had a gun and dared Torres to get his gun.

Torres went to his second-floor apartment and got a rifle he used for pig hunting.

Torres, who was afraid that Ioane was going to shoot him or his girlfriend, who was asleep upstairs, first struck Ioane with the butt of the gun, then fired a warning shot, but Ioane kept advancing with his right hand behind his back, Eddins told the jury.

At that point, Ioane made a "split-second decision" to fire and the bullet struck Ioane in the stomach, said Eddins, who told the jurors he will ask them to acquit Torres at the end of the trial.

In his opening statement, White told jurors Ioane was not acting aggressively toward Torres and that he was not armed, but that Torres shot him from no more than five feet away.

The trial is expected to last about a week.