Teen charged in cab driver's beating death found guilty of... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Teen charged in cab driver's beating death found guilty of manslaughter

Michael Robles Michael Robles
Ty Tang Ty Tang
Courtroom Courtroom

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu judge on Thursday convicted a young man in the beating death of a taxi driver in Waipahu last year. But it wasn't the guilty verdict prosecutors were hoping for.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario says prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Robles intended for the victim to die. He ruled that the defendant's actions were at least reckless, and found him guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter.

Murder defendant Michael Robles, 19, appeared restless in the final moments before his verdict was announced. He opted to have a judge decide his case, instead of a 12-member jury.

"He's happy with his decision to have gone jury-waived," William Jameson, Robles' attorney, said. "But above all, he wanted everyone to know that he's deeply sorry for what happened."

He's referring to the killing of cab driver Charlys Ty Tang, 41, a husband and father of two.

During the trial, Robles acted out his version of the savage beating, saying it was his friend, Kilani DeRego, who repeatedly punched and kicked the victim. Tang was found unresponsive in a parking lot in Waipahu.

"The court is free to reject the testimony," Del Rosario said.

The judge says Robles' testimony was not credible, but went with manslaughter instead of second-degree murder.

"I completely understand how he reached those conclusions and I respect the decision, but respectfully disagree with the ultimate conclusion," Scott Bell, deputy prosecutor, said.

The victim's widow, Xiao-Ling Tang, declined comment until sentencing.

Robles faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced September 14th. The defense may decide to seek an eight-year prison term under the state's youthful offender statute.

DeRego says he wasn't even there that night, he was at a friend's house. He's scheduled to go to trial in October.

Robles is expected to be called to testify.

"He does feel that if he testifies against Kilani, he'd be betraying someone who he sees as a friend," Jameson said. "So if he had his choice, no, he wouldn't want to testify against Kilani. But he may not have that choice."

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