Mistrial declared in Ala Moana stairwell murder case - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mistrial declared in Ala Moana stairwell murder case

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

After deliberating for about ten hours over two days, jurors in Jacob Le's murder trial told the judge they were at an impasse.

"It appears that the jury is unable to arrive at a verdict in this particular case. So given that, the court will declare a mistrial," Circuit Court judge Rom Trader said.

The 27-year-old Le is accused of fatally stabbing Brent Keola Kanae last October in a stairwell at Ala Moana Center. The two were close friends and danced in the same hip hop dance group.

Kanae bled to death from three stab wounds to the chest.

"More than surprised I'm disappointed. I thought that we had enough to convict, that there was enough for the jury to convict, to believe that he did commit this stabbing beyond a reasonable doubt," deputy prosecutor Kristine Yoo said.

The hung jury means Le will be tried again on the murder charge before a different jury.

"I don't expect that much to change. Everyone is going to be tied to the transcripts and so I don't expect much to change at all," deputy public defender Lee Hayakawa said.

Kanae was a cook at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. He was found lying in a pool of blood in the stairwell by a woman who testified she saw Le nearby when she ran for help. She told police about it when she saw Le at Kanae's funeral.

After the mistrial was declared, Kanae's mother and other relatives left the courtroom without speaking with reporters.

"We were hoping for some kind of justice, a verdict that gave them closure, gave them peace.  But we'll do it again," Yoo said.

The defense maintains Le is not the killer and was coerced by detectives into confessing to the crime.

"I didn't get a lot of time to talk to him but I could tell he was disappointed. He's going to be sitting at OCCC until he'll have his next day in court," Hayakawa said.

The judge will decide the date for the next trial on Oct. 15.

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