State roundup for May 5


Death penalty case continues

HONOLULU (AP) — Jury duty is far from over for the jurors who sat through more than a month of testimony to convict a former Hawaii-based soldier of murder in the death of his 5-year-old daughter.

They have begun hearing more testimony on whether Naeem Williams is eligible for a death sentence. This process is unfamiliar in Hawaii, where capital punishment was abolished in 1957.

But the death penalty is still possible in federal cases, and Williams is being tried in federal court because the 2005 beating death of his daughter Talia occurred on military property.

Part of the prosecution’s burden is to prove the crime was so heinous that a death sentence is warranted, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.

“This is a question about whether he’s also guilty of a capital murder, of a death-eligible murder,” he said.

The prosecution needs to prove there’s at least one so-called aggravating factor that makes this murder especially heinous. In his opening statement for the penalty phase of the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching alluded to Talia’s age and vulnerability in highlighting the terrible nature of her death.

The defense is presenting what it views as mitigating factors, arguing Williams shouldn’t be sentenced to death because of his low IQ. Mental health experts have been testifying this week about his low level of intelligence, using test scores to make their case.

Hawaiian Elec. seeks bidders

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaiian Electric is seeking bidders to provide one or more large-scale energy storage systems on Oahu.

The utility says it needs energy storage because wind and solar power generation has grown dramatically. It says energy storage would help it ride through sudden fluctuations in the availability of wind and solar-generated power.

More than 11 percent of Hawaiian Electric customers have solar panels on their homes. Oahu also has several large-scale wind and solar power projects generating electricity.

Hawaiian Electric said Friday the systems should be able to store 60 to 200 megawatts for up to 30 minutes.

The deadline for proposals is July 21.

Bidders must aim to have the energy storage system in service in the first quarter of 2017.

 

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