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Judge warns ex-soldier in Hawaii murder trial


HONOLULU — A judge says it seems like a former Hawaii-based soldier on trial for murder in his 5-year-old daughter’s beating death was coached on how to testify.

Naeem Williams returned to the witness stand Wednesday to testify about beating his daughter Talia with a plastic ruler and a belt. He says he disciplined her for bathroom accidents.

When Williams started reflecting on what would have happened if he didn’t bring Talia to live with him in Hawaii, the prosecution objected and U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright quickly sent out the jury.

Seabright says “retrospective” testimony is “very prejudicial to the government.” He says it seems Williams was coached because his testimony mirrors his defense attorney’s opening statement.

Because it’s a federal case, Williams could face the death penalty even though Hawaii doesn’t have capital punishment.