The verdict is in for a man accused of killing his friend in an Ala Moana stairwell.
The jury found Jacob Le not guilty Thursday of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
This is Le’s second trial. His first trial ended in a mistrial in October 2013 when 11 of the jurors voted to convict him, but one did not.
In October 2012, Brent “Ola” Kanae was found bleeding to death at Ala Moana Center. He had been stabbed multiple times.
Prosecutors argued that Le confessed to the crime, but his attorney said investigators didn’t explore other leads and the real killer remained at large.
“For (Kanae’s) family, given that it was such a quick verdict, also based on the numbers from the last trial where there were 11 jurors voting for guilty, it is disappointing and shocking,” said deputy prosecutor Kristine Yoo. “The family is really disappointed. They didn’t get their day in court. They didn’t get justice, and frankly, I feel the most sorry for the family because they were very patient with us through this whole process.”
Juror Benjamin Fregeau said he believed the evidence presented at the trial was circumstantial, even though Le had confessed.
“The confession in evidence was the defendant was being interrogated and after being interrogated for about four hours, he did have a confession. But there’s a lot of defense testimony about the possibility of a false confession and what circumstances those fall into, and I personally felt like that was the case here,” he said.
Fregeau said he always presumed Le innocent and “there wasn’t many times where my thought process was he was guilty.”
“It was really hard to fill in the blanks, so mostly around false confessions, but also tying in to that, (there was) no motive, no direct evidence and it made it very hard to say that Jacob Le was without a doubt the person who committed the crime, and that’s ultimately what we all had come to the conclusion of,” he said.