HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A young man convicted in the 2010 savage beating death of a taxi driver in Waipahu took the witness stand at his co-defendant's murder trial Tuesday and refused to answer the prosecution's questions regarding the incident.
Michael Robles repeatedly told the court, "I plead the fifth (amendment). I refuse to answer that question," when asked if he told police that he saw his friend, Kilani Derego, punching and kicking the cabbie in a parking lot. The victim, Charlys Ty Tang, 41, died from massive head and brain injuries.
It was a 180-degree turn for Robles, who freely testified at his own trial last year that Derego delivered the fatal blows.
"When he was whacking him, he kept whacking him, and one of the punches really landed pretty hard where the guy stopped defending himself," Robles said on the witness stand last May.
Derego maintains he wasn't even with Robles that night, that he was at a friend's house at Schofield Barracks.
Robles was also charged with murder, but opted to have a judge decided his fate instead of a jury. Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario convicted him of the lesser offense of manslaughter and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.