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Kaneohe murder defendant denies firing shots

A 27-year-old Kaneohe man on trial on a charge of murdering his former Castle High School football teammate took the witness stand today and denied firing any shots or killing the victim.

Makuola Collins told the Circuit Court jury that he did not have a firearm nor any reason to be angry at Joel Botelho, who was shot early Jan. 2 outside his family’s home in Kaneohe.

Botelho was a Big Island resident, but was on Oahu to celebrate his 27th birthday with his family.

Collins said he was upset at Botelho’s younger brother, Leon “Bubba” Botelho, 22, who had “false-cracked” him at a bar earlier that morning.

Collins said he went to the Botelho family home to talk to his boyhood friend Joel Botelho to get him to control his younger brother, Leon.

But Collins said as he and several others were walking on a driveway to the Botelho home in the pitch black early morning darkness, two shots were fired toward him.

Collins suggested that the shooter was Leon Botelho. Collins said he heard the younger brother’s voice from where the first shot was fired.

Collins was the last witness in the trial.

The jury will hear closing arguments Wednesday before beginning deliberations.

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