Deliberations begin in Ala Moana Center murder trial

Prosecutors say Le stabbed his best friend to death; Defense attorneys say Le didn't have the strength, skill to kill Kanae

 UPDATED 10:38 PM HST Oct 02, 2013
HONOLULU -

A man obsessed with his ex-girlfriend or the wrong man accused of murder?

Those are the two scenarios the jury will now have to decide between in the trial of Jacob Le.

In closing arguments Wednesday, the state portrayed Le as a man who couldn't let his ex-girlfriend go -- even after stabbing his best friend to death.

"Jacob Le was focused and obsessed with his ex-girlfriend," said Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Yoo. "The most chilling statement he makes after his friend dies is 'Ola would want this for us.'"

Wanting them to get back together is what prosecutors say Le wanted, and even without a recorded confession, prosecutors said the physical evidence doesn't lie.

"He can’t tell you where he was between 3:04 and 3:09 because if he were to tell you, he’d have to tell you he was in the stairwell," said Yoo.

The defense said they have the wrong guy and attempted to pound holes into Le's so-called confession.  And Le's attorney said the physical evidence proves his client couldn't be the murderer because he doesn't have the skill nor strength to stab Kanae, a 23-year-old cook at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, in the stairwell of Ala Moana Center.

"You’d pull back, and stab, pull back and stab. You can generate some power doing that, however when you do that, you sacrifice speed and you sacrifice accuracy," said Lee Hayakawa, deputy public defender.

But prosecutors said an attack from behind left Kanae with little defense.

PHOTOS: Remembering Brent Kanae
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The Honolulu medical examiner has identified the man police say was stabbed to death at Ala Moana Center Wednesday as 23-year-old Brent Kanae of Honolulu.

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Click here to see pictures of Kanae and the murder scene.

"The knife and the surprise were the equalizers in this case," said Yoo.

The jury began deliberations Wednesday to decide if Le is guilty of second degree murder or not.

If the verdict is returned Thursday, it would be exactly a year to the date of the murder.  If convicted, Le could face life in prison with the possibility of parole.

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