The Hawaii Supreme Court set aside a man’s manslaughter conviction Friday for the 2009 beating of his estranged wife’s boyfriend with a 2-foot-long metal reinforcing bar.
The high court ruled that Circuit Judge Karen Ahn should have permitted the jury to consider the lesser offense of first-degree assault.
The justices sent the case back to Circuit Court for a new trial for Paul C. K. Kaeo.
Kaeo, 49, went on trial on a charge of murdering Charles Kahumoku Jr., 49, who died from head injuries in the May 8, 2009 beating in Maili.
The jury returned a verdict convicting Kaeo of the lesser manslaughter charge of recklessly killing Kahumoku. Kaeo received a prison term of between 6 2/3 years to 20 years in prison.
In the appeal, Kaeo’s lawyers said the judge should have granted the defense request of allowing the jurors the option of returning a verdict on the lesser offense of first-degree assault, which carries a maximum 10-year term.
The high court agreed.