Trial starts for man accused in Ala Moana stabbing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Trial starts for man accused in Ala Moana stabbing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

"Not once, not twice, but three times. That's how many times defendant Jacob Le thrusted a knife into his friend's chest," deputy prosecutor Kristine Yoo said at Le's murder trial.

She said the autopsy showed that Brent Keola Kanae, 23, bled to death from punctures to his heart, a lung and an artery.

Last October 3 Kanae was going back to work at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Ala Moana Center after a vacation at Disneyland. He was stabbed in a stairwell.

Janelle Bautista found him.

"He was coughing blood from his mouth and it was coming from his nose as well. He was trying to gasp for air," she testified.

Police said the 27-year-old Le and Kanae were close friends, and Le admitted to the killing.  But deputy public defender Lee Hayakawa said detectives jumped to judgment and coerced a confession.

"That's not the killer," he said, pointing at Le. "The killer is still out there. Jacob Le did not kill Brent Kanae."

Le and Kanae danced in a hip-hop group called the Dance Floor Assassins. Bautista saw Le doing a tribute dance at Kanae's funeral.

"When she saw the defendant at the funeral it clicked. 'Hey! I've seen that guy before. He was at the mall that day,'" Yoo said.

"Something told me to remember his face." Bautista said.

She called police and Le was eventually arrested.

Hayakawa said detectives ignored other leads

"A look at the actual event itself, the actual murder itself, will reveal that it was impossible for this quintessential 90-pound weakling to commit this murder," he told the jury.

Yoo said any of the three stab wounds could have been the one that killed Kanae.  Le is charged with second-degree murder. His trial continues Monday.

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