Jury convicts man in Hilo hammer attack

Diego, 70, found guilty of attempted murder, attempted robbery

Published  11:52 AM HST Jun 14, 2013
HILO, Hawaii -

A Big Island jury returned a verdict Thursday in the case of a former mortician accused of trying to kill a Hilo merchant with a hammer in 2011.

Robert Diego's attorney says his client was found guilty on one count of attempted murder in the second degree and one count of attempted robbery in the first degree.

Diego claimed that 67-year-old Donald Nigro attempted to fondle him and that he acted in self-defense by hitting Nigro with a hammer that he had been carrying in a cloth grocery bag, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

The Tribune-Herald reports Nigro had invited Diego to the apartment because Diego had offered rare Hawaii coins for sale and claimed he wanted privacy for the transaction.

Nigro said Diego attacked him without provocation and struck him numerous times.  Neighbors heard Nigro's cries for help and called 911.

Diego, 70,  is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 9.

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