Accused Dance Teacher Elects Not to Testify

Daniel Jones in court on Tuesday.
Daniel Jones in court on Tuesday.

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A jury will soon decide the fate of a former dance teacher accused of sexually assaulting five of his students. Closing arguments got underway in the trial for Daniel Jones Tuesday. But he first had to decide whether to take the witness stand in his own defense.

A much-anticipated moment.

"You have a right to testify. You also have the right to remain silent," Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall told the defendant.

A man accused of sexually assaulting five girls chooses not to testify in his own defense.

"Is it your decision, or did someone make it for you?" Crandall asked.

"It's my decision," Jones responded.

Daniel Jones was an instructor at the Rosalie Woodson Dance Academy in Aiea. Five students testified that he touched them inappropriately on separate occasions. Prosecutors say the defendant was once asked about the allegations during a meeting at the dance school, but said he didn't remember anything.

"An innocent person would say, 'You've got to be kidding me,' or, 'What, what are you saying?' Thalia Murphy, deputy prosecutor, said. "And instead, the defendant comes up with, 'I don't remember.'"

The 21-year-old is charged with 18 counts of sex assault. The defense questions the credibility of the accusers.

"There are massive numbers of reasonable doubts. There's so many doubts," Myron Takemoto, defense attorney, said. "And all you need, ladies and gentlemen, is one."

After weeks of listening to testimony and looking at exhibits, the jury is expected to begin deliberations Wednesday.

"This court is in recess," the court clerk announced, as he pounded the gavel.

The defense will continue with its closing arguments Wednesday morning.