Prosecutors say they are about a day away from resting their case against Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana, the conservative Seattle couple charged with assault in connection with the near-fatal shooting of an anti-fascist protester at the University of Washington campus on Inauguration Day 2017.
However, the trial — which began July 3 and to date has included more than 20 prosecution witnesses — was delayed until July 23 due to scheduling conflicts and vacations by attorneys. King County Superior Court Judge Kristen Richardson on Thursday afternoon sent the panel home until then, but not before calling one juror back into the courtroom and dismissing her from the panel because she had been nodding off in court.
The young woman had been ill — indeed, opening statements were briefly delayed on July 3 because she got sick — and admitted to the judge that she’s had a difficult time staying awake during the trial. The judge told her that “You’re not in trouble,” but agreed with attorneys that she did not want an inattentive juror to participate in deliberations.
The trial to date has involved sometimes tedious testimony and frame-by-frame analysis of video shot by protesters and others in Red Square the night of Jan. 20, 2017, where supporters of newly elected President Donald Trump and others had gathered to attend a speech by alt-right firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos at Kane Hall. Among them were the Hokoanas — Marc armed with pepper spray and his wife with a 9-mm Glock handgun beneath her coat.
Things turned raucous when speech goers were accosted by a large group of protesters, including dozens of black-clad “antifa” — anti-fascists — and a number of fights broke out as riot gear-clad police looked on. Marc Hokoana, 31, had told a friend on social media the night before that “If the snowflakes get out of hand” — using a pejorative term for liberals often used by Trump supporters — “I’m just going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls.”
According to testimony and court documents, Marc Hokoana was involved in at least one altercation and, at one point, purportedly used pepper spray in the crowd, prompting a reaction from a 35-year-old avowed anarchist and computer-security expert named Joshua Phelan Dukes, who rushed through the crowd and grabbed him.
Elizabeth Hokoana, 31, admits she shot Dukes once at point-blank range, but claims he was armed with a knife and that she acted in self-defense to protect her husband. The couple turned themselves in to police later that night, but not before going home and apparently erasing data on Marc’s telephone, according to court documents.
Elizabeth Hokoana is charged with first-degree assault with a firearm enhancement and could face 15 years in prison. Marc Hokoana is charged with third-degree assault for using pepper spray, and faces three months in jail if convicted.
Dukes, who was critically injured and underwent several surgeries, refused to testify at the trial. In a statement issued through his attorney, Dukes said he has no faith in the criminal-justice system and had asked to meet face-to-face with the Hokoanas, but they declined.
Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Raam Wong said he expects to wrap up the state’s case by the end of day July 23. Defense attorneys Steven Wells, who represents Elizabeth Hokoana, and Kim Gordon, who represents Marc Hokoana, have told the jury their clients will testify when the defense presents its case. Judge Richardson told the jury Thursday she hopes to give the case to them for deliberations during the week of July 29.