8 Feb 2018

US murder trial begins for NZ politician's stepbrother

10:44 am on 8 February 2018

The murder trial of New Zealander Clinton Thinn has begun in the United States.

Clinton Thinn

Clinton Thinn Photo: Supplied / Instagram

The 30 year old, who is the stepbrother of National Party MP Nikki Kaye, has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder.

He is accused of strangling his cellmate Lyle Woodward at a jail in San Diego in late 2016, while he was serving a sentence for armed robbery.

Woodward died of his injuries a week after the incident.

Thinn had been defending himself from his cellmate, his lawyer said.

Thinn's Facebook page says he attended the prestigious Auckland Grammar School and Selwyn College in Auckland's eastern suburbs.

A YouTube channel in his name hosts numerous videos of him rapping.

He travelled to the US in May 2016 and was convicted of armed robbery in June that year.