Opening statements in Oahu highway murder trial

Opening statements in Oahu highway murder trial
Toby Stangel sits in Honolulu courtroom
Toby Stangel sits in Honolulu courtroom
Toby Stangel
Toby Stangel

"He lifted one hand and then he started shooting," Cindy Nguyen said.

As her family fought back tears in the courtroom, Nguyen testified that Toby Stangel aimed multiple gunshots into the mini-van she and her mother sat in as they waited at a red light.

"I ducked to the floor and crouched down, then I saw my mom jerk back and her head slowly fell," she said.

A bullet to the head killed Tammy Nguyen, a mother of ten.

"Were you calling to her?" deputy prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto asked.

"Yes," Cindy Nguyen said.

"Was she able to respond?" Nadamoto asked.

"No," Nguyen answered.

Stangel is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and firearm and drug offenses. Police said he went on a shooting rampage on the early morning of June 3, 2011, killing Nguyen, wounding two others, and shooting at cops.

"They see the defendant slow down, almost come to a stop. And they see the hand come out. They see the flash and muzzle, and they dive," Nadamoto said.

The crime scene stretched from Kaimuki to Aiea. The violence lasted 17 minutes. Nadamoto said police found multiple bullet casings matching the murder weapon. They also found cocaine and other drugs in Stangel's BMW.

"The facts of what happened are not in dispute. But the state of mind required for you to convict Mr. Stangel of those particular crimes will not exist," defense attorney John Schum said.

Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kim has ruled the Stangel cannot he was temporarily insane due to drugs when the crimes were committed.

Stangel, 30, is the son of a pastor. If he is found guilty on all charges he could face three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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