ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Not everyone agrees on who started the fight that lead to the death of a Fort Richardson solider, but almost everyone agrees the shooter was easy to identify.
The murder trial for a man accused of killing an off-duty military police officer in downtown Anchorage continued Tuesday with witness testimony.
The soldier’s friends say Evan Minnear was probably trying to help a bad situation, but the defense says it seems he made the situation worse.
Each witness recalls slightly different details of what happened outside the Woodshed bar on a November night in 2008, but it seems there's one detail everyone remembers, the shooter was the man in the Jack Daniel's jacket.
“Short, Filipino male, he was wearing a black NASCAR style racing jacket. He had his hands in his pockets. I was close enough to hear him put a bullet in the chamber of his gun, load it and fire one shot,” said witness Ryan Butler.
Butler, a security guard at the bar, saw the Filipino man pull something out of the jacket inside the bar.
As far as he could tell, security cameras didn't capture that, but the camera outside the bar recorded what happened next.
“He removes the fire arm from his pocket and holds it down to his waist, lifts up the gun and shoots it up in the air,” said Butler.
That's when he said the soldier told the shooter to stop and went across the street to talk to him. That’s when Minnear and man began arguing.
Two witnesses ID the man in the Jack Daniel's jacket in a suspect line-up -- who police found out was Vongdeuane Vongthongdy, but one of the witnesses told police she'd been drinking.
“My observation of her was she was lucid,” said APD Officer Kevin McDonald about the witness.
The defense points out the alleged gunman, who police say was Vongthongdy, was walking away when Minnear started fighting with him, but the prosecutor argues the soldier was out numbered 3-to-1 and felt threatened.
“There is a bloody, obvious alternative, three men could have jumped on him if they wanted, they could have protected themselves and other by holding Mr. Minnear until security or police arrive,” said James Fayette, prosecuting attorney.
“My cross-examination wasn't only relevant to self-defense, my cross was relevant to state of mind,” said defense attorney Leslie Hiebert.
The prosecutor argues, if it was self-defense why did Vongthongdy shoot Minnear while the soldier was down on the ground?
But why, the defense asks did Minnear cross the street to confront Vongthondy in the first place.
Witness testimony continues tomorrow.
The prosecution is expected to rest in the afternoon.
It's unclear if the defense plans to put on a case.
Contact Ashton Goodell at email@example.com