A Kailua man became angry and violent before being shot, a woman tells the court
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 01, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 11:15 a.m. HST, Feb 12, 2014
A friend of State Department special agent Christopher Deedy testified Wednesday she saw the agent pull out his wallet before the 2011 fatal shooting in Waikiki and show Kollin Elderts what the defense asserts was Deedy’s law enforcement identification and badge.
Jessica West, 27, girlfriend of Deedy’s college roommate and fraternity brother Adam Gutowski, took the witness stand as the defense opened its case in the 15th day of the agent’s trial on a charge of murdering Elderts early Nov. 5, 2011, at the McDonald’s restaurant on Kuhio Avenue.
West testified Elderts became angrier after Deedy opened his wallet and heard Elderts say, “You think you’re tough because you have a gun.”
She said Elderts moved toward the agent in an aggressive manner, hit her boyfriend, who tried to stop him, and later went past her toward the agent.
She said Elderts knocked Deedy down in a “tackling type of motion, lunging at Chris.”
West said she later heard three shots.
Deedy, 29, who was here to provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, is accused of firing his weapon without justification in the 2:45 a.m. shooting of the unarmed Elderts.
Elderts, 23, was a Kailua resident.
Deedy’s defense is that he relied on his law enforcement training in trying to defuse an
escalating confrontation that started when Elderts harassed another customer.
Elderts became enraged and Deedy fired three shots to protect himself and Gutowski, the defense contends.
West, who was living with Gutowski in Waikiki at the time and is now a risk analyst in Arizona, supported the defense contention that Deedy drank beer, but wasn’t drunk.
The prosecution contends Deedy was drunk after having visited five Waikiki and Chinatown bars.
She said Deedy did not seem to be under the influence of alcohol and was in a good mood when they went to McDonald’s.
West said she left because she thought they were leaving, but returned to find Deedy standing at the table where Elderts was sitting.
“I saw Chris pull out what looked to be a wallet from his back pocket, flip it open and present it face forward to Kollin,” she told the Circuit Court jury. “It angered him (Elderts).”
She said Elderts stood up and moved toward the agent.
Deedy was focused on Elderts, watching him move forward, West said.
West described Elderts as having a scowl on his face, “puffing himself up” and “making himself big in a challenging manner.”
She added, “I was feeling nervous and scared.”
She said Gutowski tried to stop Elderts by shoving him away from the agent, but that Elderts hit her boyfriend in the left temple.
West said Elderts’ friend Shane Medeiros joined in beating and kicking Gutowski, who was on the floor.
She said she tried to help her boyfriend and tried to push Medeiros away with her left forearm.
West, who stands 5 feet 1 and says she weighed 94 to 97 pounds at the time, denied Medeiros’ testimony that she was punching him.
West said she had tried to calm down both Elderts, who didn’t acknowledge her, and Deedy, who seemed focused on Elderts.
“I don’t think anyone was listening to me,” she testified.
Earlier Wednesday, Theodore Coons, one of the two primary detectives in the case, testified he assumed that police would give Deedy a breath test for alcohol when the agent went through processing at the police station after the shooting.
But Coons said no one from the police station notified him that Deedy refused to take the test, which is routinely administered to felony suspects.
Coons, who was at the shooting scene and interviewing witnesses, said he didn’t call to find out the results of Deedy’s test.
It wasn’t until he returned to the police station nine hours after the shooting that he learned that Deedy did not take the test.
He said it would have taken another three to five hours to process a written search warrant signed by a judge to test Deedy to measure his blood alcohol level.
By that time, 14 hours after the shooting, the results of the test would not have been reliable, he said.
Coons, who retired last year, said the second of three shots fired by the agent was the one that fatally wounded Elderts.
The defense maintains the fatal shot was the third fired by Deedy when Elderts was on top of him on the floor and punching him.
Under cross-examination by Deedy’s attorney Brook Hart, Coons testified he didn’t recall whether he included in his closing police report that the second shot hit Elderts.
The report was filed in February 2012 and did not specify the second shot was the fatal one.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn denied a defense request to acquit Deedy, opening the way for the defense to present its case by calling West to the stand.