Hawaii News No evidence links defendant to killing, attorney contends By Nelson Daranciang Nov. 1, 2011 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! BRUCE ASATO / firstname.lastname@example.org Toi Nofoa, charged with murder in the shooting death of his estranged girlfriend, listened to opening statements Monday in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Randal O. Lee. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Toi Nofoa did not shoot his ex-girlfriend in the head 2 1/2 years ago in Ewa, his defense attorney said Monday. Nofoa, 33, is on trial in state Circuit Court for first-degree murder in the March 17, 2009, shooting death of 25-year-old Royal Kaukani. He is facing a mandatory life prison term without the opportunity for parole, the harshest penalty under state law, because Kaukani was a witness against him in another criminal case. Prosecutor Maurice Arrisgado told the jury in opening statements Monday that Nofoa killed Kaukani "to prevent her from testifying against him." Kaukani was the alleged victim in a kidnapping and threatening case against Nofoa. The case was scheduled to go to trial March 16, 2009, the day before Kaukani’s killing. However, the trial was put on hold when Nofoa didn’t show up for a scheduled pretrial hearing 11 days earlier. Nofoa’s lawyer Craig Nagamine said fingerprint and DNA testing of Kaukani’s sport utility vehicle, where she was shot, turned up no evidence linking Nofoa to the shooting. He said police found no blood on Nofoa’s clothing and motorcycle, and tests for gunshot residue were at most inconclusive. "(Police) charged Mr. Nofoa because they got a phone call from Mr. Nofoa’s crazy brother Richard who told them that Mr. Nofoa was the shooter," Nagamine said. At a preliminary hearing in 2009, the brother, Richard Taifane, said Nofoa called him on the mainland after the shooting and told him he saw Kaukani with another man and admitted shooting Kaukani. Residents of Kaukolu Place and Kaukolu Way in Ewa told police they saw a man dressed in black standing outside Kaukani’s SUV after hearing what turned out to be a gunshot. They said they saw the man exit from the rear driver’s side door of the SUV holding a black gun after hearing a second gunshot five to 10 minutes later. Kaukani was lying on the pavement, they said. The man then drove off on a dark-colored motorcycle, they said. Kaukani was shot once in the cheek and once in the back of the neck. Previous Story State sees high-rises jutting from skyline Next Story Students' scores rise but still trail peers'