The murder trial of a federal agent charged with shooting a man in a Waikiki McDonald's started Monday morning.
Opening statements were given in the case against State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy. The 29-year-old is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Kollin Elderts, of Kailua.
The defense was hoping for a last-minute federal appeals court decision on a request to move the case to federal court. But on Monday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied that request.
Deedy was in town for the November 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit when he got into an altercation with Elderts inside the restaurant.
In opening statements, the prosecution said that Deedy had been drinking all night at several bars in Chinatown and Waikiki, then went to McDonald's. According to prosecutors, Deedy interjected himself into something he had nothing to do with.
Prosecutors say Deedy told Elderts, "If you keep acting like that you're gonna get shot. You wanna get shot? I'll shoot you."
The prosecution says the situation was fueled by alcohol, compounded by a warning about locals, and ignited by the power of Deedy's Glock.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa says a fellow agent warned Deedy about hostility from locals, which explains why he had a gun with him.
Defense attorney Brook Hart says Deedy wasn't drunk. Hart says Deedy was acting in self-defense and the gun went off when Elderts attacked him.
"Agent Deedy acted responsibly and in self defense. He took measured steps to stop a violent assault," said Hart.
Deedy claims he was acting in self-defense and protecting others. The defense says Deedy intervened when Elderts was harassing a customer with racial slurs.
The prosecution's first witness was Coconut Willy's bartender Kamahuilani Barbett. Barbett says Deedy paid for the tab with nine drinks, but she did not serve him or saw who actually drank the alcohol.
The prosecution's second witness was Special Agent Matthew Golbus of the Defense Security Service. He went over the Foreign Affairs Manual that states that agents cannot consume alcohol, conduct careless behavior, threaten a person, among other things, while carrying a firearm.
Outside Circuit Court, there were demonstrators supporting the late Elderts.