Teen accused of killing taxi driver says Facebook post proves he is innocent

Kilani Derego
Kilani Derego
Michael Robles
Michael Robles
A printout of Derego's FaceBook page
A printout of Derego's FaceBook page
Charlys Ty Tang
Charlys Ty Tang

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A teen accused in the beating death of a taxi driver two years ago says a comment he posted on his Facebook page shows he wasn't at the scene of the crime.

Kilani Derego, 19, is on trial for second-degree murder. He took the witness stand in his own defense Thursday.

"Did you ride in a taxi with Charlys Tang?" Jeff Hawk, defense attorney, asked.

"No, I did not," Derego replied.

"Did you ever punch a person by the name of Charlys Tang?" Hawk asked.

"No, I did not," the defendant replied.

"Were you with Michael Robles when he assaulted Charlys Tang?" his lawyer asked.

"No, I was not," Derego replied.

Co-defendant Michael Robles was convicted of manslaughter in the case. During his trial last year, Robles testified that he and Derego caught a cab from Waikiki to Waipahu, where Derego got into an argument with the driver and repeatedly punched and kicked him.

Charlys Ty Tang, 41, died from massive head and brain injuries.

Derego maintains he wasn't even with Robles that night, that he was at an all-night get-together at an apartment at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa. He told jurors that while he was at the party, he used a computer that was in the living room and posted a comment on his Facebook page.

"What was the comment you made?" his attorney asked.

"It says, 'With my honey on base at her friend's house. Be back on laters. Bye,'" Derego read from a printout.

The comment has a time stamp of 9:28 PM on April 30, 2010.

"You don't know, since you didn't download that page, whether or not it was altered in any way during the downloading, right?" Scott Bell, deputy prosecutor, asked.

"No, I can't say," Derego replied.

The deadly beating occurred several hours later, sometime after 1:30 AM on May 1, 2010.

Derego maintains he slept over at Schofield Barracks and didn't leave the apartment until about noon on May 1, 2010.

"Did you go to Waipahu?" Hawk asked.

"No, I did not," the defendant replied.

Derego and Robles were housemates at Hale Kipa, a group home for high-risk youth.

"When you were arrested, were you surprised?" Hawk asked.

"Yes," Derego replied.

"What did you think you were being arrested for?" his attorney asked.

"A runaway," the defendant replied.

The jury is expected to receive the case Friday.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.