Hawaii man testifies he did not mean to kill shooting victim

KEALAKEKUA — A Hawaii man has testified he did not intend to kill a man during an altercation with the victim and a third man who was wounded.

West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday that 50-year-old Brian Lee Smith is on trial for second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted murder, and gun charges.

Authorities say Thomas Ballesteros Jr. was killed in South Kona on the Big Island in June 2018.

Smith says Ballesteros scared him by throwing a rock that hit his motorcycle and helmet and that they had previous arguments.

Smith says the pair became involved in an argument during which he intended to fire a shot over Ballesteros, but mistakenly shot him once in the head.

Police say Nikolaus Slavik suffered three gunshot wounds while fighting with Smith.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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