27 years after murder conviction, defendant gets new trial - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

27 years after murder conviction, defendant gets new trial

Maryann Acker, right Maryann Acker, right
Landon Murata Landon Murata
Keith Shigetomi Keith Shigetomi
Kimberly Hasker Almalech Kimberly Hasker Almalech

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The re-trial for a woman convicted in the 1978 murder of a Moiliili man got underway Monday. Maryann Acker has this second chance, after the guilty verdict in her 1982 trial was overturned.

The defendant maintains her former husband is the killer.

Twenty-seven years after being convicted of a fatal shooting, Maryann Acker gets a new trial with a new jury. Prosecutors say Maryann was 18 years old, when she and her 28-year-old husband, William, moved to Hawaii and decided to support themselves by robbing people at gunpoint.

"The plan was that Maryann would go into a bar, would attract the attention of some young man, and then they would take him away and relieve him of his money," Landon Murata, deputy prosecutor, said.

But for Lawrence "Larry" Hasker, 20, the stick-up turned deadly. Prosecutors say on June 19, 1978, the couple took the victim to Hanauma Bay, where Maryann opened fire.

"William thinks he hears Larry say something to Maryann," Murata said. "He doesn't know what, but the next thing he hears is three gunshots."

But the defense maintains William was the mastermind, had control over his young wife, and was the one who ultimately pulled the trigger.

"William's plans always put Maryann in the vulnerable position. She was always left exposed," Keith Shigetomi, defense attorney, said. "William made a deal with the prosecution to testify that Maryann did it. William was given immunity."

The victim had been living with his 22-year-old sister at the time. She tells jurors she was at work and couldn't get a hold of her brother.

"Just had a funny feeling," Kimberly Hasker Almalech, victim's sister, said. "I just tried to call, to reach him that night, and I was unable to reach him. There was no answer."

Almalech says when she got home, she found the place ransacked.

"I knew that there was something terribly wrong," she said.

The jury will not be told that five days after Hasker's murder, the couple robbed and killed a man in California. Maryann is already serving a life sentence for that.

William Acker is expected to testify for the prosecution as early as Tuesday.

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