Federal Agent Could Face Third Trial Over Shooting Death in Fast Food Restaurant

Posted: August 17, 2014 in Justice, News
Tags: , , , , , ,

Nearly a year ago, a jury deadlocked in the case of State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy who was accused of murder in the 2011 shooting death of Kollin Elderts, 23, in a Hawaii fast-food restaurant.  The judge declared a mistrial.  On Thursday of last week, the second jury acquitted the agent of murder, but deadlocked on lesser charges.  The first jury did not consider any lesser charges, but between the first and second trial Judge Karen Ahn ruled that the jury could consider reckless manslaughter and assault in the first or second degree.

The foreman of the first jury said jurors deadlocked with 8 in favor of acquittal and 4 in favor of conviction.  At the time, legal experts blamed the hung jury on a lack of lesser included options.  The second jury proved them wrong.  The second jury found that the shooting was not murder, but couldn’t agree if Deedy had committed reckless manslaughter, assault in the first or second degree, or was not guilty.

Defense attorney Thomas Otake said to the media following the verdict, “We firmly believe there are legal motions we can file to dispose of [these] charges…Our position is enough is enough.”

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa said she will pursue a third trial.

The victim’s family criticized the prosecution after the first trial for not requesting manslaughter as an option for the jury.  At the time prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to support manslaughter.  Judge Ahn said she included it because the state Supreme Court clarified the law between the first and second trial.

The family’s spokeswoman Kalama Niheu said reading from a statement, “Christopher Deedy is a very irresponsible, cowardly individual…Because of the poor decisions he made that tragic night, including drinking and walking our Waikiki streets with a loaded personal firearm, we can never forgive him.”

Deedy, 30, testified in his own defense at both trials.  The Virginia man maintained he was acting in self-defense and was trying to protect others at the restaurant after Elderts became aggressive at the Waikiki McDonalds.  Deedy was in Waikiki to provide security for an international economic summit, but was off-duty at the time of the shooting.  Deedy testified that when he pulled the trigger 3 times, he intended “to stop the threat…”  According to prosecutors, Deedy was fueled by alcohol, power, and a warning from a fellow agent about local Hawaiian hostility toward the government and outsiders.  The prosecution portrayed Deedy as an inexperienced, drunk agent.  The defense portrayed Deedy as acting within the confines of his law enforcement training, which was to intervene in potentially dangerous situations.  Deedy went to the McDonalds after barhopping with his friends.  He said Elderts was bullying a fellow customer and the situation turned violent.

Jury deliberations began on August 5th, but were delayed due to Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio.

“Today is just a day where we’re relieved…they acquitted him of murder and…they did not convict him of anything,” Otake said, “No matter what, there’s no winners…The Elderts, they’ve lost a loved one.”

  1. True Crime buff says:

    Enough is enough. This has gone on for years. Do not try him again.


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