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New trial ordered in 2009 Honolulu murder

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 5:25 p.m. HST, Jan 15, 2014

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.

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