Attorney: Driver accused in hit-and-run acting in 'self-defense'

Attorney: Driver accused in hit-and-run acting in 'self-defense'
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 20-year-old man who plowed into a group of Ewa Beach teenagers and then fled the scene was acting in self-defense, his attorney said Wednesday.

The comments came on the same day that Malik Morton was indicted on one count of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted murder and a single terroristic threatening charge.

Prosecutors have a very different version of events about the May 17 "intentional" hit-and-run, which left an 18-year-old critically injured.

"Eyewitnesses say that the defendant was swerving his car, driving into people who were attempting to get out of the way," said deputy Prosecutor Chastity Imamura. "He then drove directly at one (person) who tried to jump out of the way but still was hit.

"The defendant then drives his car directly into an 18-year-old female and he hits her head on causing her to fly up into the air."

That woman, Campbell High School graduate Alisha Brown, remains in a coma.

Imamura said the incident happened after Morton and several friends, who were partying at an Ewa Beach home, got into a fight with another group of teens.

"(Morton) and a couple of friends were getting assaulted by the people at the party," she said. "The defendant got into his car and started to drive away and made a u-turn and made his way toward the group of people who were standing in the middle of the road."

Morton's attorney, though, said the prosecutor's own account indicates that his client was acting in self-defense.

"They said my client and his friends were all being assaulted and they were fleeing when all of this happened so that's obviously a self defense issue that they should be investigating," said attorney Victor Bakke.

Morton is expected to appear in court next week, where he'll likely plead not guilty.

His bail has been set at $1 million. The high bail was because prosecutors expressed concerns that he would leave town.

"(Morton) had a plane ticket to San Diego scheduled for May 26, 2016. He's considered a flight risk," said Imamura.

But Bakke said the trip was planned well in advance.

"If they did any investigation, they would have found out that my client and his family had a trip planned to Disneyland for months."

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