It’s a murder case that’s drawing national attention.
Federal agent Christopher Deedy is standing trial, accused of committing murder while in Honolulu on official duty on Nov. 5, 2011.
Trial began Monday with opening statements as both sides laid out their case.
Deedy, an agent with the State Department, was in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation events with world leaders.
Prosecutors say Deedy shot 23-year-old Kollin Elderts at a Waikiki McDonald’s in what amounts to a case of abuse of power.
Deedy’s attorney says it was self-defense.
“He’s saying things like ‘Acting like that is gonna get you shot. Do you want to get shot?’” Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa said.
“If he sees a person threatened with violence, he is a person trained to respond to it,” Defense Attorney Brook Hart said.
Prosecutors say that Deedy had been drinking all night with a couple of friends and had been warned earlier in the day by another friend that the locals in Hawaii can be hostile to visitors.
“The defendant was fueled by alcohol, primed by warnings by his friends about the hostile locals and ignited by the power of the Glock,” Futa said.
Prosecutors point out Deedy should not have been drinking while carrying a weapon and called on another federal agent to testify on what’s forbidden according to the manual for all agents.
“Consumption of any alcoholic beverage while armed or six hours prior to being armed or at any time prior to being armed sufficient to impair the agent’s judgment,” State Department Special Agent Matthew Golbus said.
At around 2:30 a.m., Deedy and Elderts were arguing inside the McDonald’s on Kuhio Avenue, and prosecutors say Deedy started the physical contact.
“Giving the defendant a clean shot of Kollin Ederts, he kicks him,” Futa said.
The arguments continued and Deedy’s friend got in a scuffle with Elderts’ friend. Prosecutors say Deedy fired a shot and missed Elderts. Elderts then lunged toward Deedy to go after the gun.
“They grapple in front of the counter and two more shots ring out. After the shots, Kollin falls on top of the defendant,” Futa said.
The third shot proved to be fatal. But the defense says Deedy was only doing what he’s trained for as a federal agent. They say Elderts and his friend were taunting and bullying another customer in the restaurant, and Deedy stepped in to stop them.
“Hey, why don’t you guys just leave this guy alone. And the response is, ‘Hey, it’s none of your business, butt out haole,’” Hart said.
Hart says Deedy identified himself as a law enforcer and repeatedly told Elderts to back off and he just wouldn’t.
“Shoot me, shoot me, you have to shoot me. I’m gonna get you. I’m gonna gut you!” Hart said.
Also called to testify was a Waikiki bartender who said Deedy paid for nine drinks on his tab, but could not say how many of those Deedy actually consumed.