Couple found guilty of stabbing then-pregnant sister

Michael Ayala, left, and Jessica Hinebaugh

Two days after tearful testimony from the victim, an Oahu jury has reached a verdict in an attempted murder case.

The defendants were accused of trying to suffocate and stab a pregnant woman in Mililani Mauka.

Jessica Hinebaugh and Hinebaugh’s boyfriend, Michael Ayala, were charged with attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping, identity theft and theft.

The victim, Casey Ann Jones, is Hinebaugh’s older sister, and she was two months pregnant at the time.

The incident happened in October 2013 and, after much delay, the case finally went to trial.

On Wednesday, Jones took the stand.

When asked “Did you ever tell Jessica that you were pregnant?” Jones answered, “Yes, sir.”

Jones said that Hinebaugh and Ayala attacked her in their family’s Mililani Mauka home.

“My sister was on top of me, covering my mouth, trying to choke me,” Jones said.

While that was happening, Jones said Ayala stabbed her with a kitchen knife. When that turned out to be too dull, he went to get a second knife.

Jones said she was stabbed “everywhere. All over my torso.”

Jones said her sister blamed her for leaving her with their dad, whom she claims was abusive.

“She started going off about how much she hated me how I left her and broke almost every promise I’ve ever made to her,” Jones said.

“Please tell the jury why you felt terrified.”

“Because I was being attacked by someone I loved and trusted,” Jones said.

Jones said she had just about given up fighting her attackers, when it appeared her sister had second thoughts about killing her. She said they finally let her go after she booked them flights to get away to Florida and promised she wouldn’t tell on them. The couple was arrested at the airport.

On Friday, the jury reached a verdict: “As to count one, attempted murder in the second degree, guilty as charged.  As to count two, robbery in the first degree, guilty as charged.”

The jury found Hinebaugh and Ayala guilty on all counts: attempted murder, robbery (second-degree for Hinebaugh, first-degree for Ayala), kidnapping, identity theft and theft. Hinebaugh was also found guilty of an additional charge, unauthorized control of personal information.

“There were a couple of themes that came out during this trial. One was the betrayal of a blood sister, whom the victim took in, cared for and provided for and she was betrayed by her sister,” said deputy prosecutor Scott Bell. “The second is the callous nature of the second assailant, who was a complete stranger to the victim, who was unwelcome in the home, and really lay in wait with his co-defendant to violently assault this innocent woman.”

Hinebaugh and Ayala are scheduled to be sentenced on June 16. Prosecutors plan to seek the maximum punishment, which is life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Jones gave birth last May.

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