Motion for acquittal denied for one Miranda-Garcia brother; new trial date scheduled

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today

    Brothers Eber, right, and Marlon Miranda-Garcia appear Wednesday in Kona Circuit Court.

KEALAKEKUA — A Kona Circuit Court judge denied a judgment of acquittal for a West Hawaii man accused of second-degree murder.

On Wednesday morning, Marlon Miranda-Garcia and his brother, Eber, appeared before Judge Robert D.S. Kim. Marlon’s new attorney, Deputy Public Defender Catherine Gibson, filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal on the charge of second-degree murder.

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“When considering the facts presented most favorable to the state, a reasonable mind couldn’t prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Gibson said.

Marlon and Eber Miranda-Garcia were charged with second-degree murder for the killing of their landlord, Dolores “Lolo” Borja-Valle. The 69-year-old’s body was found Aug. 9, 2015, in a Captain Cook coffee field.

After a six-week trial in the case against the brothers, Kim declared a mistrial when the jury was unable to come back with a verdict after a week of deliberation.

Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Lawson filed an opposition to Gibson’s motion for acquittal.

“The jury was hung in this case,” Lawson stated in court Wednesday. “Some reasonable minds could support a finding of guilt.”

Lawson added the case against the Miranda-Garcia brothers is circumstantial.

“You have to look at it as a whole, not at one specific act,” she said.

Lawson told the court the state has to prove Marlon Miranda-Garcia had the intent.

“A juror could find Marlon is guilty as an accomplice beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

Terri Fujioka-Lilley, defense counsel for Eber Miranda-Garcia, didn’t have anything further to add.

Kim denied Gibson’s motion.

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A new jury trial date is set for Feb. 19, 2019.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.