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Murder trial opens in highway shooting case

<p>Associated Press</p><p>Toby Stangel appears in court on June 6, 2011, in Honolulu. Lawyers gave opening statements Monday in the murder trial of Stangel.</p>



Associated Press

HONOLULU — A Honolulu jury heard opening statements Monday in the murder trial of a man accused in a June 2011 highway shooting spree that killed a mother of 10 and wounded two other people.

Toby Stangel, the son of a Hawaii pastor, faces first-degree murder, attempted murder and other charges.

Authorities say the rampage started at a Honolulu intersection, where Tammy Nguyen was shot. The violence continued along the H-1 freeway, leaving two others shot and wounded. Authorities allege Stangel also fired at two police officers.

In court Monday, prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto described Nguyen’s 16-year-old daughter seeing her mother’s head jerk back when she was shot in the head while sitting in a van.

Defense attorney John Schum noted: “The facts of this case are not in dispute. But this case is about more than plain and simple facts.”

Schum said his client didn’t have the “state of mind” required to convict him.

Stangel was found mentally fit to stand trial based on reports from three mental health experts appointed to examine him.

The judge last year granted the prosecution’s request to hold Stangel without bail, revoking the $5 million bail he had been held on for more than a year. The defense had asked for Stangel to be released to his father, senior pastor at North Shore Christian Fellowship.

Honolulu police released some audio files of 911 dispatch communications during the shootings after the Honolulu Star-Advertiser sued for their release under state open-records laws. In one recording, an officer is heard saying: “We got a bona fide shooting with a victim involved over here.”

Police can be heard responding to separate incidents across Oahu. In another recording, a male caller reports hearing about six gunshots.

If convicted, Stangel faces three potential life sentences without the possibility of parole.


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