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Deedy trial testimony touches on racial issues

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 8:02 p.m. HST, Jul 17, 2013

A McDonald’s customer took the witness stand and testified this morning that he recalled hearing the word “haole” during a conversation with Kollin Elderts who was later shot and killed at the Waikiki restaurant early Nov. 5, 2011.

Michel Perrine testified he had been drinking earlier and doesn’t remember what else was said except for that word. But he said he didn’t feel threatened, walked away and didn’t feel a need for any help.

Perrine testified in the trial of State Department special agent Christopher Deedy who is charged with murder for fatally shooting Elderts at the McDonald’s Kuhio Avenue restaurant.

Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va. was here to provide security at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

The prosecution maintains that Deedy was fueled by alcohol and inexperience when he fired the fatal shot. The defense contends Deedy fired in self defense to ward off Elderts who became angry after the agent checked to see if Perrine was alright.

Perrine testified he became afraid when he saw Deedy’s holster and gun when the agent lifted his shirt and recalled seeing Elderts and Deedy grappling with each other, but doesn’t remember hearing any gunshots.

Also taking the witness stand was Deedy’s friend and fellow State Department agent Ben Finkelstein who came to Hawaii Nov. 4, 2011, with Deedy for the APEC conference.

Finkelstein testified he told Deedy that the vast majority of the people here are friendly, but said some “locals” dislike federal agents and mainlanders and Deedy needed to be careful about certain areas of town at night. 

Finkelstein said he also distinguished the word “haole” from “f---- haole,” which he said was highly derogatory racial slur.

According to Finkelstein, Deedy said he would be carryng a firearm.

Deedy later went out with friends to Chinatown and ended up at the McDonald’s early the next morning.

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