Murder victim's husband testifies at Griffin trial

Kevin Luka
Kevin Luka
Evelyn Luka
Evelyn Luka
Darnell Griffin
Darnell Griffin

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The husband of a young woman, who was assaulted and left to die on the side of an Oahu freeway a decade ago, testified at the accused murderer's trial Thursday.

Air Force Maj. Kevin Luka says he went with his wife to Venus Nite Club on September 4, 1999, but felt uncomfortable when he saw people with a different lifestyle there.

"I saw what I thought were drag queens, a lot of homosexual tendencies or behaviors from folks in the club, and I did not want to associate myself with that," Kevin Luka, victim's husband, said.

When his wife, Evelyn, wanted to return to the club the next night, he says he dropped her off and then waited for her at his parents' home. She never showed.

"Did you go anywhere to look for her?" Kevin Takata, deputy prosecutor, asked.

"No, I didn't," Luka replied.

"Why not?" Takata asked.

"I didn't know where to look," Luka replied.

The next day, she was found unconscious along the H-2 Freeway in Waipio. She died about a month later.

Darnell Griffin is accused of raping and strangling the 20-year-old.

"She had some dirt, some dried blood kind of all over," Luka said about seeing his wife in the hospital. "She had some bruising on her body."

"Where did you see those bruises?" Takata asked.

"She had some around her neck, on her arms," Luka replied.

Prosecutors say DNA evidence points to the defendant, who was convicted of murdering another woman back in 1980.

But the defense suggests Griffin and Evelyn Luka had consensual sex at Venus the night her husband was uncomfortable with the clientele and was waiting for her in the parking lot.

"You don't know who she, what she was doing inside Venus Nite Club, correct?" Edward Aquino, deputy public defender, asked.

"Correct," Kevin Luka replied.

The defense says other people could have committed the crime, and that police failed to conduct a thorough investigation.

Griffin decides not to testify. The jury will hear closing arguments Friday.