State outlines case against teenager accused in Ewa Beach murder
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
Teenager Vernon Bartley sat with his head bowed as he listened this morning to a prosecutor accuse him of “gruesome, violent, detestable” crimes against his Ewa Beach neighbor Karen Ertell.
Bartley, now 17, was just 15 years old when he allegedly raped and murdered the 51-year-old Ertell in May 2007.
First Deputy Prosecutor Douglas Chin outlined the state’s case against Bartley in his opening statement of the nonjury trial being conducted before Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Hawk waived his opening statement.
Chin told Crandall that Bartley had broken into Ertell’s house as many as five times in the year before she died.
At one point he wrote her a letter of apology for the break-ins, Chin said.
Ertell finally pressed criminal charges against the youth after he allegedly stole some $500 in a 2006 burglary. That case was pending against him when he allegedly attacked Ertell in her house, raping and strangling her and stealing her car, credit cards and other belongings.