The Hawaii Supreme Court is ordering a new trial for a man convicted of a 2009 murder because jurors weren’t allowed to hear testimony that the shooting victim had cocaine in his system.
Phillip DeLeon was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Shawn Powell, who was shot after an altercation at a Honolulu nightclub.
The ruling issued Wednesday says it was wrong to exclude expert testimony about cocaine in Powell’s blood.
A spokesman for the Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s office declined comment.
Former deputy prosecutor Megan Kau tried the case. She says the decision is shocking because the expert couldn’t testify to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.
She says it was tough to get witnesses to testify, which will make it difficult to try the case again.