HONOLULU - A State Department special agent on trial for murder took his testimony to the floor of a Honolulu courtroom Wednesday, demonstrating for jurors how he was on his back being pummeled when he fired his gun during the killing of a man at a McDonald's restaurant.
Christopher Deedy took off his blazer to lie on the carpet Wednesday and described how Kollin Elderts was straddling and punching him. After the second gunshot, the punches stopped.
"Instead of coming down to punch, he just came down on top of me," Deedy said. "I just laid down completely prone and closed my eyes."
Elderts, 23, of Kailua died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va., is charged with murder in the 2011 confrontation in a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant. The agent started testifying in his defense Tuesday, describing his training and a night out with friends in Waikiki and Chinatown the day he arrived in Honolulu to help with security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
On Wednesday, his testimony turned to what happened in the McDonald's, where he ended up because of his friend's hankering for chicken nuggets. Deedy said he intervened because Elderts was bothering a customer.
Elderts and his friend, Shane Medeiros, attacked his friend, Adam Gutowski, the agent testified.
"The dark blood on his face, the kicks connecting to his head," Deedy said. "I needed to stop this assault."
Deedy said he rose to his feet after being knocked to the floor and stood to face Elderts with his empty hands in front of him.
"I was issuing a warning, a command: 'Stop, I'll shoot,' " Deedy said. "As I drew my weapon and put my hand forward, I said 'freeze.' "
To Deedy, it felt like the chaotic scene turned silent, like things were moving in slow motion. "It's so vivid in my mind . . . it was like time stood still," he said.
Prosecutors contend he was drunk and inexperienced. Deedy said he had only about four beers or less over 5 hours that night.
Deedy used footage from a bystander's cellphone camera to show that he used his knife to help cut Eldert's shirt and rendered aid. He's heard on the video - amid Hawaiian music playing in the restaurant - imploring Elderts to breathe as police respond to the scene.
He said an officer was surprised when he said he had a pistol.
"I said, 'I'm the one who shot him,' " Deedy said. "After that they placed my arms behind my back and handcuffed me."
It was on the way to the hospital that he heard over a police radio that he was being arrested on suspicion of murder. After a long pause he said, "I don't know how to describe how I felt at that moment. It was like a ton of bricks had fallen on my chest."
He said he was shocked to hear he was being arrested for murder after fighting for his life.
A prosecutor began cross-examining Deedy in the afternoon. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa asked him why he told a nurse at the hospital that he hadn't been drinking.
"I don't recall any of the questions she asked me," Deedy said. "I just said no to everything."
Deedy spent most of his testimony during the first two days speaking about moments displayed on frames of security camera footage. At one point Wednesday afternoon, he gave a hint of fatigue, saying he'd been watching the video for hours but didn't recall the events in frame grabs.
When a prosecutor asked Deedy if he had seen the footage before, Deedy said he has seen it hundreds of times and replays it in his mind.
"I see it when I close my eyes and . . . when I sleep at night - try to sleep at night," Deedy said. "I never stop seeing this."