Woman on trial for 1978 murder testifies in her own defense

Maryann Bray
Maryann Bray

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A woman on trial for the murder of a Moiliili man that took place 30 years ago testified in her own defense Wednesday. Maryann Acker, who now goes by the name Maryann Bray, says her ex-husband is the killer.

Maryann Bray says when she and her then-husband, William Acker, came to Hawaii in 1978, the first thing she noticed when she got off the plane was how fragrant the air was. Now, prosecutors hope the only air she breathes will be from inside a prison.

Bray says she was working at an Arizona hardware store, when she met William Acker who was 10 years older. It wasn't long before he convinced the 18-year-old to marry him.

"One day, I came home from work and he just started in again. Let's get married. Let's get married," Bray said. "And I just said, 'Okay, whatever. Just shut up.'"

After they moved to Oahu, she says he came up with a plan to rob people at gunpoint. She says he used a stolen, 38-caliber revolver to force her to go along.

"He would hold a gun to my head or to my ribs and tell me I will do what he said," she said.

For their second victim, Larry Hasker, 20, the stick-up turned deadly.

Prosecutors say the couple stole money from Hasker's Moiliili apartment, then took him to Hanauma Bay. Bray says her husband took the victim down an embankment and fired two shots.

"I wasn't there. I didn't see it. I was still sitting in the car," she said. "He just looked at me very casually and said, 'Yeah, don't worry about it. It's just something I had to do. You wouldn't understand. Let's go get something to eat.'"

William Acker testified last week that his ex-wife is the one who pulled the trigger. The defendant denies it, and says she should never have taken part in the robbery scheme.

"Looking back on things now, I know that I had choices and I made the wrong ones," Bray said.

The judge is allowing the jury to hear that five days after Hasker's murder, the couple robbed and killed a man in California. Bray is already serving a life sentence, but has a chance at parole, in that case.