Young man charged with murdering cab driver pins death on... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Young man charged with murdering cab driver pins death on co-defendant

Co-defendant Kilani DeRego Co-defendant Kilani DeRego
Michael Robles Michael Robles

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A young man charged with murdering a taxi driver in Waipahu last year testified on Tuesday that it was his co-defendant who repeatedly punched and kicked the victim.

The co-defendant, Kilani DeRego, says he wasn't even there. That didn't stop Michael Robles, 19, from showing the court how, he says, the beating of Charlys Ty Tang, 41, was carried out.

"He came straight down like that and whacked the guy right here in this area," Robles demonstrated. "Exactly the same exact motion. He came like this and whacked the guy like that."

Robles says he snuck out of Hale Kipa, a therapeutic group home for high-risk youth, the night of April 30, 2010 to "cruise" with housemate DeRego in Waikiki. He testified that he smoked marijuana, while he and DeRego both drank alcohol.

Robles says DeRego then wanted to go to Waipahu, so they got into a taxi after their efforts to catch a city bus failed. When they reached Waipahu, he says DeRego began arguing with the cab driver about the drop-off location.

Robles testified that he initially ran away, in part because he used most of his money on alcohol and drugs and didn't have enough for the ride, but turned around and saw DeRego and the cabbie in a scuffle. He says he returned to where the two were and saw DeRego deliver multiple punches and kicks while the victim was on the ground.

With his attorney playing the role of the victim, Robles acted out his version of the savage beating.

"When he was whacking him, he kept whacking him, and one of the punches really landed pretty hard where the guy stopped defending himself," he testified.

Robles says the back of the victim's head was bouncing off the concrete with some of the blows. Tang, a husband and father of two, died from massive head and brain injuries.

Robles testified that, at one point, he did kick the victim twice on the shoulder to get him to let go of DeRego's legs. He says he also tried to stop the beating.

"I came like this and I pulled Kilani back like that," he demonstrated. "So I'm holding Kilani back at the time already when I intervened."

"What did you say to Kilani?" William Jameson, defense attorney, asked.

"I told Kilani to calm down," Robles replied.

DeRego says he wasn't even with Robles that night, he was at a friend's house at Schofield Barracks. His trial is set for October.

Earlier, Tang's widow testified that her husband was never aggressive towards anyone. She recalled her final night with him.

"He cooked for us. We ate about 20 minutes," Xiao-Ling Tang, victim's wife, said through an interpreter. "Then he received a phone call from a friend, telling him that a customer need him to pick up, so he left in the middle of our dinner."

Robles has opted to have Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario decide his fate, instead of a 12-member jury. The trial continues Thursday.

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