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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 1, 2003

Man, 24, convicted in Waikele shooting

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A state jury yesterday convicted a 24-year-old man in the December 2002 shooting death of Eugene Rios in Waikele.

A Circuit Court jury deliberated for about a day before finding Moses L. Thompson, also known as Marcus L. Thompson, guilty of one count of second-degree murder. He also was found guilty of two firearms charges.

Thompson showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were read. Before being led out of the courtroom, he hugged his mother and girlfriend and told them, "I'm on the express train to Halawa (prison)."

"You put yourself on that train," his mother responded.

Thompson faces a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Richard Perkins on Jan. 21. Thompson's lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Walter Rodby, said his client also faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison because a semiautomatic weapon was used in the crime.

Rodby said he was disappointed with the verdict and would appeal. The defense claimed during the trial that Thompson pulled out the gun in self-defense.

"There was evidence regarding a struggle over the handgun and the gun going off during the struggle," Rodby said. "The guy (Rios) grabbed for the gun, and there was a struggle and it went off."

The prosecution did not dispute that Rios was the aggressor. But witnesses said they saw Thompson fire a second shot as the wounded man collapsed outside the car.

Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara said the verdict was "just and fair." He added that the trial was difficult "because there was conflicting testimony from the defendant's friends as well as the independent witnesses."

Thompson was found guilty of shooting Rios, 31, during a confrontation between Lumi'aina and Waipi'o Uka streets on Dec. 15 which police said stemmed from a traffic altercation.

Reach Curtis Lum at 525-8025 or culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.