Mistrial declared in Deedy trial
State Dept. agent on trial for killing Kollin Elderts
A mistrial was declared Monday afternoon in the murder trial of federal agent Christopher Deedy.
The jury reconvened in Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn's courtroom just before 3:30 p.m. Monday and unanimously declared that they could not reach a verdict.
At the end of the declaration, Judge Ahn and the prosecution began discussing future dates during which they may pursue a second case against Deedy.
A status conference is scheduled to be held Friday afternoon to possibly determine the date for a possible retrial. Dates in summer of 2014 were discussed as possibilities.
Deedy was on trial for 2nd degree murder for shooting 22-year-old Kollin Elderts to death.
Following the declaration of a mistrial the family of Kollin Elderts declined to comment about the trial.
Deedy and his family left the building through a secure corridor while none of the 12 jurors agreed to speak to the media.
The jury announcement comes on the sixth day of deliberation after 20 days of testimony which closely examined the events of Nov. 5, 2011.
In the early morning hours of that day, the lively buzz at a Waikiki McDonald's erupted into a deadly rumble as federal agent Christopher Deedy and friends, Kollin Elderts and Shane Medeiros, crossed paths and then clashed.
Since day one of special agent Christopher Deedy's murder trial, prosecutors have focused heavily on how much he had to drink, whether he was in any position to be carrying a gun, and why he didn't choose to simply back away.
Defense attorneys have argued the decorated agent was doing his job - to serve and protect - and was forced to take deadly action.
"The defendant was fueled by alcohol, primed by warnings given to him about the hostile locals, and ignited by the power of his Glock," began deputy prosecutor Janice Futa during opening statements in early July.
Deedy was on assignment in Honolulu as a federal agent for security detail during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, in late 2011.
The 29-year-old resident of Arlington, VA claimed self-defense caused him to shoot and kill 23-year-old Elderts of Kailua.
"This case, ladies and gentlemen, is about self defense and the defense of others," began defense attorney Brook Hart.
Throughout the trial, what Deedy and Elderts consumed was in constant question.
""When (Deedy) spoke I could smell (alcohol) on his breath," testified Honolulu Police Department evidence specialist Toy Stech.
So all three substances were present simultaneously," defense attorney Karl Blanke asked medical examiner Kanthi De Alwis. "Yes," said De Alwis.
Alcohol was considered a possible player in the McDonald's confrontation that soon followed:
"So it went from joking, to bothering, to annoying, and then bullying. Is that what you saw?" defense attorney Brook Hart asked McDonald's security guard Rosalinda Soriano.
"Correct sir,” said Soriano, remembering what appeared to be harassment of customer Michel Perrine.
"I noticed this guy (Perrine) still staring, so I said 'Do you have an F-ing problem? We told you we were just joking around with you, why still staring?'" said Elderts' friend Shane Medeiros.
Deedy testified he noticed the moment Elderts and Medeiros walked in, stepping in; when he said they kept harassing Perrine.
"It's your testimony that not at any point that night did you see Deedy show his badge?" Blanke asked Medeiros. "Never," Medeiros said.
"I told him I'm a cop and he's going to get arrested. As I said that, I reached back, opened (my wallet) up and displayed (my law enforcement ID) to him," said Deedy.
"I heard (Deedy) say, 'Acting like this will get you shot. You don't feel like getting shot do you?'" Medeiros testified.
"At this point, I just felt like I couldn't say anything else. They were arguing and I figured if they're going to fight they're going to fight," said Alexander Byrd, a customer at McDonald's the morning of the fight.
And fight they did. But who threw the first blow, who started what, has been hotly debated.
"I don't remember much of anything except getting hit in the head pretty hard," said Deedy's friend Adam Gutowski, who testified that Elderts and Medeiros both rushed him first.
"Both Kollin and Shane are beating him, he's getting beaten, kicked on the ground," said Gutowski's girlfriend Jessica West, who was with Gutowski and Deedy all night.
First, Gutowski appeared to be in the fray, then Deedy. That exchange with Elderts ended in shots fired.
"(Elderts) was delivering the blows. He would come back and down back and down," testified Deedy, making a punching gesture.
"When you pulled the trigger you intended to kill Mr. Elderts, correct?" asked Futa.
"I intended to stop the threat," answered Deedy.
"After those shots were fired what did Elderts do?" Hart asked Deedy.
"Stop. Instead of delivering the (next) punch he just came down on top me," said Deedy.
Then there were those vivid moments in the aftermath: Deedy aiding a dying Elderts, covered in blood at the emergency room, and realizing the weight of what happened that night.
"I'd just fought for my life, and I believe I'd just killed a man, and I'd just been put under arrest for murder," he recalled.
In closing arguments in special agent Christopher Deedy's murder trial, both sides zeroed in on the spark that ignited the fight and how it escalated into tragedy.
"Add to that, alcohol and inexperience in the mix and it's why the defendant is here, driven by sense of hubris, nothing more than a bully with a badge," said Futa.
"There is no doubt that agent Deedy shot and killed Kollin Elderts. That's a fact and nobody disputes it. But it does not mean special agent Deedy murdered Kollin Elderts. Special agent Deedy's intent was not to kill Kollin Elderts. His intent was to protect life. His intent was to stop the threat," said Blanke.
Elderts family has retained an attorney to possibly file a civil suit against Deedy.
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