A teenager who stabbed two children after friends tried to steal a cap was found NOT GUILTY of murder

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Teen who stabbed two brothers after friends tried to steal 76ers cap is NOT GUILTY of murder – after jury accepted he was unaware of attempted hat robbery

  • Maaka Hakiwai, 17, died after being stabbed in the heart by Joshua Horton
  • His 18-year-old brother Nate was also stabbed and nearly died in the attack
  • A Melbourne jury delivered their shocking verdict on a murder trial on Tuesday
  • Horton admitted to stabbing the boys, but claimed he had no intention of killing
  • The jury was unaware of Horton’s “complex” criminal history and swallowed his story
  • He was instead found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter

The man who stabbed teenage Maaka Hakiwai and his brother after attempting hits to steal a cap has been found not guilty of murder.

Instead, Josh Horton – who was 18 at the time – will go down on the lesser charge of manslaughter, which he’d already pleaded guilty to before even going to court.

On Tuesday, the jury also found him guilty of deliberately injuring Maaka’s brother Nate, who he stabbed in the leg seconds after killing his brother.

Horton had also pleaded guilty to a lesser charge over that stabbing, which was quashed by the jury of 12.

Joshua Horton has pleaded not guilty to murder

Joshua Horton has pleaded not guilty to murder

Makaa’s top basketball after being stabbed to death on Grand Final Day 2019

Maaka Hakiwai (right), 17, was killed and his 'best friend' brother Nate (left) continued to fight for life

Maaka Hakiwai (right), 17, was killed and his 'best friend' brother Nate (left) continued to fight for life

Maaka Hakiwai (right), 17, was killed and his ‘best friend’ brother Nate (left) continued to fight for life

The verdict is expected to outrage the boys’ friends and family, who turned out to be at Maaka’s funeral by the hundreds.

To reach the conclusion, the jury further found that Horton was unaware that his two friends – who cannot be named due to their age – had attempted to rob the boys.

Prosecutors had hit Horton with not one, but two murders in hopes of securing a conviction.

The second count would have served as an alternative whereby the jury would have found Horton guilty if they accepted that he was aware of the plan to rob the couple.

The jury had heard that the youths had been driving around town to ‘drill’ someone when they saw the brothers waiting for the bus.

Horton was right in between his two younger friends when they had the conversation about robbing the couple.

Horton’s lawyer Sam Norton had argued that his client only intervened when he saw his partner go to the ground.

He told the jury that Horton had expressed regret about the stabbing and asked a friend “which one” when told that one of the boys had died.

Maaka Hakiwai (right), 17, was killed and his 'best friend' brother Nate (left) was ambushed while waiting for a bus

Maaka Hakiwai (right), 17, was killed and his 'best friend' brother Nate (left) was ambushed while waiting for a bus

Maaka Hakiwai (right), 17, was killed and his ‘best friend’ brother Nate (left) was ambushed while waiting for a bus

Hundreds gathered to say goodbye to Maaka after being stabbed to death while waiting for a bus with his brother Nate

Hundreds gathered to say goodbye to Maaka after being stabbed to death while waiting for a bus with his brother Nate

Hundreds gathered to say goodbye to Maaka after being stabbed to death while waiting for a bus with his brother Nate

Moments from a tragedy.  The Hakiwai brothers walk to the bus stop where they would be attacked

Moments from a tragedy.  The Hakiwai brothers walk to the bus stop where they would be attacked

Moments from a tragedy. The Hakiwai brothers walk to the bus stop where they would be attacked

Had the jury been told of Horton’s “complex criminal history”, the jury might have acted differently.

By law, a person accused of murder has the right to hide his or her criminal history from a jury in the hope of a fair trial.

Mr. Norton told the jury that Horton had no intention of assisting in the robbery and only wanted to help his friends, whom he believed were at risk for injury.

He told the jury that Horton said nothing before stabbing the boys, indicating that he had no intention of robbing them.

‘He makes no demands. He’s not trying to get anything, ”he said.

Mr. Norton further claimed that he had already fled when his fellow perpetrators took off the hat from the seriously injured Nate.

“He stays in the car,” he told the jury.

“It’s only when (his partner) is knocked to the ground.”

Mr. Norton said that alone should raise reasonable doubts to acquit his client.

He was right.

Horton will be sentenced on a date to be determined.

Nate Hakiwai attended his brother's funeral just days after he was nearly stabbed to death by Horton.  He expressed deep hatred for his brother's murderer during his recent trial

Nate Hakiwai attended his brother's funeral just days after he was nearly stabbed to death by Horton.  He expressed a deep hatred for his brother's murderer during his recent trial

Nate Hakiwai attended his brother’s funeral just days after he was nearly stabbed to death by Horton. He expressed a deep hatred for his brother’s murderer during his recent trial

Haunting footage from the scene showed paramedics working on one of the brothers as he lay in a pool of his own blood on the quiet suburban street

Haunting footage from the scene showed paramedics working on one of the brothers as he lay in a pool of his own blood on the quiet suburban street

Haunting footage from the scene showed paramedics working on one of the brothers as he lay in a pool of his own blood on the quiet suburban street

Markers show where the attack took place and how far Maaka got before he fell to the ground and died

Markers show where the attack took place and how far Maaka got before he fell to the ground and died

Markers show where the attack took place and how far Maaka got before he fell to the ground and died

Maaka was able to trip over the sidewalk before falling and bleeding

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