State’s highest court reverses murder conviction in 2009 Chinatown shooting

Updated: Apr. 22, 2019 at 4:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man who has been in prison since 2009 for a gang-related murder had his conviction overturned by the state Supreme Court Monday because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Iosefa Pasene was convicted after three trials of killing rival gang member Joseph Peneueta in Chinatown in March 2009. Witnesses said Pasene and another man pulled up in an SUV and shot Peneueta multiple times.

The second suspect was acquitted in the second trial.

Pasene said witnesses misidentified him because he looked and dressed similarly to the real shooter. The first two trials ended with juries deadlocked on Pasene.

During the last trial, the judge warned prosecutor Rodney Veary several times about making statements that didn’t match the evidence.

For example, Veary made reference to a surveillance video detectives had watched that Veary said ruled out the man Pasene blamed for the killing but was never entered into evidence.

The state Supreme Court Monday ruled that even though there was strong evidence of guilt, the prosecutor’s multiple improper statements could have swayed the jury’s decision.

Pasene’s conviction was reversed. His attorney says he will ask the court to throw out the case completely.

Supreme Court Order by on Scribd

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