LIHU‘E — Two years after the death of Aureo Moore at Anahola Beach Park on Dec. 17, 2010, the first-degree murder trial of Vicente Kote Kapika Hilario began Monday in Fifth Circuit Court.
Two pools of jurors — 150 in all — will go through the screening process over the next two weeks. In the end, a 12-member jury with four alternates will be selected.
The trial itself is expected to last four to six weeks.
Hilario appeared in court for the first time wearing clothing brought to him by his family specifically for the trial. Defendants in jury trials do not wear orange jail uniforms to keep from prejudicing the jury.
Defense attorney Keith Shigetomi will be representing Hilario. Shigetomi, a private attorney from Honolulu, was appointed due to conflicts of interest.
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Melinda Mendes and Ramsey Ross are representing the State of Hawai‘i in the case.
The prosecutors took over the case in early December with the election of County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar and the departure of Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and Jake Delaplane, her first deputy. Iseri-Carvalho and Delaplane had worked the case since Hilario’s arrest and arraignment in Jan., 2011.
Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Randal Valenciano is presiding over the case.
There are several witnesses, taped and transcript testimony, forensics reports and physical evidence to present to the jury.
Hilario is charged with the first-degree murder of Moore, 34, and second-degree murder (in the alternative to the first-degree murder charge), retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness and bribery of a witness.
In previous court appearances, prosecutors alleged that Hilario killed Moore to keep him from testifying against him and two others — Akoni Davis, 21, of Hanama‘ulu; and Kyle Akau, 24, of Anahola.
Moore allegedly was the subject of a robbery at the Kaua‘i Village Shopping Center in August, 2010, where he was robbed of $900, plus 160 pills of oxycodone and 50 pills of morphine.
Akau pleaded guilty in 2012 to his part in the robbery. He received one year in jail with five years probation. Charges against Davis were dismissed.
Hilario was indicted in December on four firearms charges and two drug charges related to the 2010 incident. He is scheduled to go to trial in that case on April 15.
• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by emailing email@example.com.