KEALAKEKUA — A second jury trial began Thursday for a Holualoa man accused of killing his landlord more than three years ago.
On Thursday, the prosecution and the defense gave their opening arguments to a jury in Kona Circuit Court in the case against Eber Miranda-Garcia, accused of second-degree murder.
Eber Miranda-Garcia and his brother, Marlon, were arrested in June 2017 for the killing of Dolores “Lolo” Borja-Valle.
The brothers were initially tried together in August 2018. After several weeks, the proceedings ended in a mistrial as jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
In December Kona Circuit Judge Robert D.S. Kim granted a request to sever the brothers’ cases.
A trial date for Marlon Miranda-Garcia, who also is accused of second-degree murder, has not yet been set.
On Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Lawson laid out what evidence would be presented during the course of Eber Miranda-Garcia’s second trial.
Lawson told the jury they would hear testimony that Miranda-Garcia killed Borja-Valle by hitting him with rocks and some sort of sharp pointy object at their Holualoa home. There also will be testimony of the defendant driving Borja-Valle’s truck with “Lolo’s lifeless body” to Keopuka Mauka Road where “they dumped him like trash.”
“Eber and his family told police they didn’t know what happened to Lolo but they gave police a timeline,” Lawson said.
Defense counsel Terri Fujioka-Lilley explained during her opening statement that her client saw Borja-Valle as a father or an uncle.
“Throughout August of 2015 police contacted the Miranda-Garcia family and they provided DNA samples and fingerprints,” she said, with the Miranda-Garcias trying to assist in the investigation.
In June 2017, police showed up at Miranda-Garcia’s job site and he was placed under arrest.
Fujioka-Lilley stated her client was unable to call his wife after his arrest and didn’t speak to police until after sitting for a day in the cellblock. The defense counsel asserted police told Miranda-Garcia his entire family was arrested. Not wanting his daughter to be alone, he was convinced the only way to help her was to confess to a crime he didn’t commit.
“You’re not going to learn where (Lolo) was killed, when he was killed, why he was killed and what weapon was used,” Fujioka-Lilley said. “Most importantly, you won’t learn who killed Mr. Borja-Valle.”
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