DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Patrick Lorenzo, right, who fatally shot Daniel Browne-Sanchez, an off-duty deputy sheriff, faced cross-examination yesterday. He is shown here with his defense attorney, Walter Rodby, on Wednesday.
‘I didn't mean to,’ slayer tells trial jury
Murder defendant Patrick Kealoha Lorenzo maintained during cross-examination yesterday that he did not mean to shoot an off-duty deputy sheriff on Feb. 10.
"When Daniel (Browne-Sanchez) attacked me, I didn't want to fire it," Lorenzo said in his Circuit Court trial on a charge of first-degree murder. "I didn't mean to fire those shots."
Lorenzo shot and killed Browne-Sanchez, who was working as a barback at Osake Sushi Bar & Lounge, early in the morning on Feb. 10. The defense contends that Browne-Sanchez moved toward Lorenzo, who had entered the bar after it was closed and fired warning shots.
Lorenzo insists he was forced by two unidentified individuals to go to the bar on Kapiolani Boulevard near the Hawaii Convention Center after it had just closed to "wave the gun around and intimidate people" into paying for security or else they could not continue to operate.
Lorenzo said he owed the "thugs" between $6,000 and $8,000 for drugs that police seized from him in February 2005 after he was arrested during a traffic stop.
"I didn't have a choice -- what I did in there," Lorenzo testified during cross-examination by Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bell. "They threatened my mom, threatened to kill her."
He could not explain why the thugs took two years to collect on the debt. But he said they had approached him at least twice before -- in December at his Kailua home and then in January at his workplace on Dillingham Boulevard. On Feb. 9, he said, they confronted him after he was leaving his drug treatment class. He said they made him drive to Tantalus where they threatened to kill him, kill his mother and burn down the Kailua home where he lived if he did not do what they ordered. He testified earlier that they told him they would forgive the drug debt if he complied.
Lorenzo said he had never been to Osake and did not know what to expect when he got inside. But he expected the worst after the two thugs provided him with a ski mask, bulletproof vest and a firearm that he believed was loaded.
When he ordered the people inside to the ground and they did not appear to take him seriously or immediately comply, he decided to fire warning shots, he said.
"I knew what I was doing. I knew where I was pointing it. I knew my intentions," he said.
Browne-Sanchez had his hands up in the air and said he was leaving but continued moving toward him, Lorenzo said. While he did not see that anyone in the bar had a firearm, it seemed Browne-Sanchez was reaching for something -- "I didn't know what," Lorenzo said.
"He was just coming at me. I was just trying to defend myself," Lorenzo testified.
He said it was not Browne-Sanchez's fault that he was shot, but that his actions contributed to the fatal result. "He helped," Lorenzo said.
Later, he acknowledged that his conduct resulted in Browne-Sanchez's death and that what happened in Osake was a result of the decisions he had made that morning.
Lorenzo also said he knew prior to the fatal shooting that if he shot someone in the chest, it would be "practically certain" the person would die.
The jury is expected to get the case by this afternoon. If convicted of first-degree murder, Lorenzo faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The defense says the jury should consider reckless manslaughter, which is punishable by a 20-year prison term.