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Ex-death row inmate guilty of 2019 Waikiki robbery

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  • HPD / 2017
                                <strong>Isaiah McCoy: </strong>
                                <em>The former Delaware death row inmate faces 10 years in prison in the 2019 robbery of a Japanese visitor in Waikiki </em>

    HPD / 2017

    Isaiah McCoy:

    The former Delaware death row inmate faces 10 years in prison in the 2019 robbery of a Japanese visitor in Waikiki

Former Delaware death row inmate Isaiah McCoy has escaped a Delaware murder conviction, sidestepped a Waikiki murder charge and had federal sex-trafficking charges in Hawaii against him dropped.

But an Oahu Circuit Court jury found McCoy guilty Monday of second-degree robbery in the 2019 beating and robbery of a Japanese visitor in Waikiki.

The weeklong trial ended Monday after the jury deliberated for about 20 to 25 minutes before reaching a verdict, a spokesman with the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office said.

McCoy, who represented himself in the trial, faces 10 years’ imprisonment when he is sentenced July 27.

He and an accomplice brutally beat the Japanese visitor and stole his $20,000 watch outside a Kuhio bar. The man, who suffered numerous injuries, returned to Hawaii to testify at trial.

“The members of the jury deserve the gratitude of our community,” Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm said Tuesday in a news release. “This verdict sends a strong message that crimes like the one committed by McCoy will not be tolerated in Honolulu. Because of the seriousness of this crime and the need to deter future criminal conduct, we will be seeking the maximum prison term for McCoy at sentencing.”

McCoy was sentenced to death in 2012 for a drug-related murder in Delaware state court. However, volunteer lawyers with the Innocence Project got the conviction overturned, and he was acquitted by a judge in the retrial.

He arrived in 2017 in Hawaii after his January 2017 release from custody in Delaware.

In 2018, McCoy and his now-former Schofield Barracks soldier wife, Tawana Roberts, were indicted in cases of sex-trafficking a woman and a girl. McCoy was also charged with trafficking six more women, producing child pornography and tampering with witnesses.

Federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway dismissed the charges after Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Brady said the investigation failed to meet standards of law enforcement and his office.

Mollway previously dismissed a sex trafficking charge involving one alleged victim after the chief investigator withheld evidence by failing to turn over 133 text messages between himself and the woman.

According to court records, Honolulu police began investigating McCoy after receiving information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security linking McCoy’s prostitution activity with a fatal shooting outside a Waikiki nightclub in September 2017.

In Jordan Smith’s state murder trial, witnesses implicated McCoy in the murder and said that Smith came from Delaware and agreed to enforce McCoy’s territory for his prostitution operations by keeping out rival pimps.

The pair were riding around Waikiki looking for someone Smith had a disagreement with — Smith armed with an assault rifle and McCoy with a shotgun, their driver testified during Smith’s trial.

But Smith was the only one charged with murder, which ended in a mistrial in April 2019. A new trial was set, but he pleaded guilty Feb. 13, 2020.

In the robbery case, McCoy was arrested Oct. 7, 2019, for trying to leave the state while out on $100,000 bail in the robbery case.

He was caught at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport attempting to leave on a flight for Los Angeles, which would have been a violation of his conditions of bail, and he did not have the court’s permission to do so.

On Oct. 10, 2019, McCoy broke out in an angry tirade in court when the judge denied him bail, which prompted his removal from the courtroom. He was held without bail.

McCoy had been in custody for about a month between his initial arrest Sept. 3, 2019, and Feb. 28, 2020; and since Feb. 28, 2020, he has been held without bail, said Matt Dvonch, spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office.

His alleged accomplice, Joshua Pulliam, is scheduled for trial May 17 before Judge James Kawashima, who also oversaw the McCoy trial.

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