HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After two days of deliberations, an Oahu jury on Wednesday found a man accused of gunning down his former girlfriend in broad daylight not guilty of first-degree murder and two firearms offenses.
The late-afternoon acquittal for Toi Nofoa drew an emotional response from the courtroom gallery.
"The allegation is and the evidence was that he did kill her," Maurice Arrisgado, deputy prosecutor, said. "He was the only person that had the motive to kill her. That's why I'm so, I don't know, so angry about the verdict."
The slaying of Royal Kaukani, 25, was classified as first-degree murder because she was supposed to testify against Nofoa in another criminal case.
Prosecutors told jurors that the defendant got into his ex-girlfriend's Hummer in the middle of a street in Ewa in March 2009, and shot her multiple times in the head at point-blank range.
The defense had argued that none of the physical evidence linked Nofoa to the shooting, and that some witnesses described the killer as being much shorter and slimmer.
"I'm happy with the acquittal," Craig Nagamine, deputy public defender, said. "I think that the basis for the jury's verdict was the near total lack of physical evidence in this case."
Nofoa is still scheduled to go to trial in the prior kidnapping and terroristic threatening case that Kaukani was a material witness in.