Jury selection under way in Big Island murder trial
By John Burnett
HILO — Jury selection is under way in Hilo Circuit Court in the trial of a Puna man accused in the shotgun slaying of his friend.
Malaki McBride, 20, is accused of killing Tyrone Kalai Torres on Feb. 25, 2007. McBride was 17 at the time, but is being tried as an adult after having pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, auto theft, use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, and second-degree arson.
Opening arguments in the case could be heard as early as this week.
Police say Torres, 21, was killed by a shotgun blast to the head while he was parked in a secluded cul-de-sac in Nanawale Estates. McBride is accused of then burning the car with Torres' body inside. Friends of Torres have said that McBride was angry about a girl who was allegedly in the car with Torres when the slaying occurred.
Retired Family Court Judge Ben Gaddis wrote in a decision on Feb. 14, 2008, that the seriousness of the charges and the need to protect the community beyond McBride's 19th birthday — when Family Court and the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility would no longer have jurisdiction in the matter — dictate that McBride should be tried as an adult.
"It is unlikely that the public can be adequately protected and that Mr. McBride can be rehabilitated if these charges remain in Family Court," Gaddis wrote.
Gaddis also noted McBride's history of recidivism as a juvenile offender as a reason for trying him as an adult.