Man on trial in fatal Waikiki stabbing claims self-defense

Sept. 2 — Deputy Public Defender Christian Enright told jurors Thursday that the 23-year-old Waikiki man on trial for second-degree murder in the 2021 fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old California visitor at Kuhio Beach was merely defending himself and is blaming the death on a female visitor nurse who administered CPR.

Deputy Public Defender Christian Enright told jurors Thursday that the 23-year-old Waikiki man on trial for second-degree murder in the 2021 fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old California visitor in Kuhio Beach was merely defending himself and blames the death on a visiting nurse who administered CPR.

Enright said Oscar Cardona Jr., who has worn thick glasses since he was 5, plays Pokemon and lived with his mom until a few months before Elian Delacerda died, “didn’t stab anybody. He used the knife to defend himself.”

But Cardona may have hurt himself during cross-examination Wednesday.

“I didn’t stab him, I was just protecting myself,” he said. “I was just holding it,” showing what he was doing with his knife holding up the middle of the pen.

“He came to attack me like that, maybe he did it to himself. He probably fell on himself.”

A district court jury began deliberations Thursday and must decide whether to accept the self-defense argument or find Cardona guilty of murder in the 12:40 a.m. stabbing. on June 1, 2021, in the area of ​​Kalakaua and Ohua avenues. If they can’t find him unanimously guilty of second-degree murder, they can choose from lesser offenses such as manslaughter, different levels of assault and reckless endangerment.

Deputy District Attorney Franklin Pacarro said Cardona did not plead self-defense when he watched himself on state videos of the incident and did not say, “Yeah, that was me. I killed him because he was trying to kill me.”

He said self-defense requires an immediate need to use deadly force, but first one has a duty to retreat if possible before using deadly force. In that case, Pacarro said he could have called 911 or run or biked to the nearest police station.

But Cardona “wasn’t a puppy dog ​​with his tail between his legs,” Pacarro said.

Instead, he brought his gold knife, which he carried in the case of his rented electric bicycle, when roommate Elijah Horn called for help during a confrontation with Delacerda and Osvaldo Castaneda-Pena, who were visiting from Vacaville, Calif., he said .

Horn, a soft-spoken black man with a slight build, testified that he called his friend and roommate Cardona because “I was scared. I wanted to call someone I knew I could trust to be with me.”

He was meeting “a girl and her friends, complete strangers to me,” Horne testified.

They met at some tables near the beach, just before one of the young men came up and asked if they wanted shots. He asked what kind? Then one of the men started calling him names, including the “N” word and other names, so he called Cardona.

Horn said he told detectives he called Cardona because “I didn’t want to look like a hottie.”

Pacarro said when Cardona arrived, he pulled out the knife, but he didn’t even know if the boys were harassing the girls. He noted that the video showed the girls cursing at Delacerda and did not appear to need help.

Pacarro disputed Enright’s “blaming the nurse.” He reminded jurors that Honolulu Chief Medical Examiner Masahiko Kobayashi, who performed the autopsy on Delacerda, ruled that the cause of death was “a stab wound to the chest, to the heart,” he testified in court, and that it was one of the five sharp force injuries.

Cardona “struck Mr. Delacerda in the shoulder so hard that (the 3-inch blade) came out the other end. …That’s evidence of intent.”

He was the only one armed, Pacarro said, except for a young woman who hit one of the men with a skateboard.

Enright said Cardona was just trying to defuse the situation and didn’t want to fight.

He likened Cardona to an inflatable fish, trying to inflate to scare away a predator.

Cardona showed them the knife, but “they were predatory” and didn’t deter them.

Enright said they were here to party, drink, wreak havoc, look for victims and were drunk.

They “zeroed out their victims” and said the most violent thing he could say.

“Elian gets in Elias’ face and punches him hard,” Enright said.

Cardona testified “the big guy,” Castaneda-Pena, punched him in the cheek and his glasses broke and came off.

“I tried to fight back, but it was too hard for me to see what was going on,” he said.

Enright produced the pair of broken glasses as an exhibit, saying they are “his crutches, his wheelchair, his lifeline.”

She told jurors the nurse was drunk and panicked and injured Delacerda by performing CPR while he was still breathing.

Pacarro said Cardona never reported the incident to police. Instead, he leaves just before the police arrive, goes home, puts the knife in his safe, cleans up and calls Star Sutherland, who reports to the police that he told her he stabbed a man multiple times.

“You’re calling Star Sutherland because you wanted to talk to a mother figure,” Pacarro asked.

“Yes,” Cardona replied.

“Why don’t you call your mother?” he asks.

“I was afraid of what he was going to say and think about me,” Cardona said.

Jurors were not told that the state alleges that on June 1, 2021, the day of the stabbing, Cardona possessed cocaine, a felony, and marijuana, a misdemeanor. On July 14, he was charged with drug possession.

(Reporters were not allowed in the courtroom because there was no room due to juror distancing requirements due to COVID-19 protocols, so reporting was done by Zoom. Judge Kevin Morikone’s courtroom only had one camera angle, so the videos that shown to the jury was not visible via zoom.)

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