Man found not guilty in home-invasion trial

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A 45-year-old Kurtistown man was acquitted Monday of robbing gamblers at gunpoint in Hawaiian Paradise Park almost two years ago.

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A 45-year-old Kurtistown man was acquitted Monday of robbing gamblers at gunpoint in Hawaiian Paradise Park almost two years ago.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated less than two hours before finding John Krause not guilty of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and first-degree terroristic threatening.

Krause was accused of being one of six armed, masked intruders who invaded a 9th Avenue home at about 1 a.m. May 28, 2013, and took money from participants in craps and card games.

Krause displayed little or no outward emotion as the court clerk read the verdicts, but his longtime girlfriend, Karen Rosa, who testified for the defense, broke into tears in the courtroom gallery.

“I’m happy with the outcome,” Krause, a fisherman, said afterwards. “Thanks to the jury for believing me.”

Krause, the only person arrested for the crime, didn’t testify in the trial, which took six days once a jury was chosen.

The home’s owner, Marlon Eugenio, told jurors he recognized Krause as one of the robbers by voice. Krause had come to Eugenio’s home earlier in the evening with another man, Jarret Kaneshiro, but left before the home invasion occurred. One of the victims, Brandon Parks, who called 911, didn’t identify Krause on the night of the incident, but later said he recognized Krause as one of the intruders.

Krause’s court-appointed attorney, Kanani Laubach, told jurors in her closing argument the state “has no physical evidence to link John Krause as the robber.” She noted during trial Krause’s home was not searched, that no firearms, money or masks were recovered, and there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence.

Deputy Prosecutor Jack Matsukawa told the jury that Kaneshiro — whose truck was taken and driven from the scene by one of the intruders — was an inside partner to the robbery.

Kaneshiro was not charged with a crime but an auto theft charge against Krause for allegedly taking the truck was dropped by prosecutors.

Matsukawa told jurors the heist could have been the perfect crime, but failed because “the high rollers went out the window and Brandon Parks was concerned about the people inside the home.”

Matsukawa said afterwards he was “disappointed” and that it was “a tough case” for the jury to decide.

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“I respect the jury system and they did the job,” he said. “… They made the call that they thought was fair.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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