Attempted murder suspect take plea deal

Valdes-Paz accused of shooting man multiple times in Waikiki parking lot

Published  5:30 PM HST Jun 10, 2013

A man accused of shooting another man multiple times in a Waikiki parking lot is maintaining his innocence.

Reynaldo Valdes-Paz pleaded not guilty in the 2010 shooting of Damon Jones.  But, on Monday, he changed his mind.

At the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard, Jones took three bullets -- one in the back and two in the legs.  He survived.

For the nearly three years since the shooting, Valdes-Paz said he is innocent.  On Monday, he pleaded guilty to attempted manslaughter by way of extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

Valdes-Paz was originally charged with second-degree attempted murder, which carries a life sentence if convicted.  However, in a plea deal with prosecutors, Valdes-Paz pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted manslaughter in exchange for a lighter sentence of 20 years in prison.

"The reason I am pleading out is I thought I'd get this thing out of the way and for the state to keep pursuing me.  It's something I'm taking responsibility for," said Valdes-Paz.

The prosecution agreed to the plea deal because there were so many areas of dispute and questions in the case, including who brought the gun to the scene and details leading up to the shooting.

"He maintains the victim brought the gun to the shooting," said deputy prosecutor Scott Bell.  "The second area disputed is to the nature of altercation of what happened.  What happened preceding the shooting.  Both sides had their versions of events."

As part of the plea deal, Valdes-Paz also pleaded guilty to two firearms charges.  The sentencing date is set for September.  Bell says the victim is back at work but is still weak from his wounds.

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