POSTED: 8:26 p.m. HST, Jan 4, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 7:04 a.m. HST, Jan 5, 2011
A preliminary hearing for a man accused of fatally shooting another man on Kauai continued with testimony from an officer who found the alleged weapon.
Acting Capt. Sherwin Perez, of the Kauai Police Department, testified in Kauai District Court yesterday that he found the gun underwater during a search along the Anahola coastline on Dec. 20.
Vicente Hilario, 24, is accused of fatally shooting Aureo Moore, 34, near Anahola Beach Park on Dec. 17. He is charged with first- and second-degree murder and is being held at Kauai Community Correctional Center unable to post $100,000 bail.
The first-degree murder charge stems from Moore being a witness in an Aug. 21 robbery that allegedly involved Hilario, who was arrested in connection with that robbery and released without charge. Prosecutors said that case is still under investigation.
During his testimony, Perez said he was assigned to search the water where the gun may have been located. He found the silver handgun on the ocean floor in about four feet of water, sources from the courtroom said.
Perez described the gun as a .25 caliber semiautomatic with no clip and no rounds in the slide.
He saw illegible writing on the gun and didn't do any tests to see whether it had been fired recently, the courtroom source said.
"There's nothing to link the firearm that he found ... three days after the incident" with the shooting, said Hilario's attorney Keith Shigetomi. He noted that Perez estimated he found the gun 30 to 40 yards offshore.
Shigetomi said he is still awaiting an autopsy report from the doctor.
Hilario's preliminary hearing will continue on Monday and again on Jan. 21. The prosecution has named four more witnesses: the man who was arrested with Hilario on Dec. 17, but later released pending investigation; a woman whose involvement has not yet been disclosed; Kauai Detective James Miller; and pathologist Dr. Alvin Omori.