State Dept. Special Agent (Bureau of Diplomatic Security, or DS) Christopher Deedy shot and killed a local Hawaiian man, Kollin Elderts, on Nov. 5, 2011, during an argument at 3 a.m. in a Waikiki McDonald’s. Elderts was unarmed; Deedy carried his knife and gun. A videotape from inside the McDonald’s is being held as evidence and the judge has ordered it sealed from the public for fear it might taint the jury pool. Deedy was in Hawai’i in advance of the APEC conference which was held later that month. He was assigned to help provide diplomatic security for the APEC attendees. No diplomats were present in the McDonald’s that night, needless to say, and the State Dept. refuses to say whether or not Deedy was actually on duty at the time. Tests on the victim’s body showed that he was legally drunk and had some amount of trace drugs in his system at the time of his death. While it is known that Deedy had been drinking at a bar with friends prior to going to the McD’s and eyewitnesses say that he was clearly drunk, he was allowed to “decline” a blood-alcohol test at the time of his arrest. (No law enforcement officer is permitted to carry deadly weapons while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, so the lack of a breathalyzer test may prove to be problematic.) Deedy actually fired three shots at Elderts – it was the third shot that hit Elderts in the chest and killed him. You may read background on this case here:
Deedy has been charged with two crimes: 2nd degree murder and use of firearm in the commission of a felony.
Deedy’s attorney, Brook Hart, filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the idea that Deedy was acting in the role of a federal law enforcement officer and thus should be immune to charges. The judge in this case, Karen Ahn, had scheduled a hearing to occur in July on the motion to dismiss; however, she has removed that hearing from her docket. Apparently the trial against Deedy will go forward. The murder trial is currently scheduled for September of this year – 10 months after the incident took place. In the meantime, Deedy was allowed to post bail and return to Virginia. He has been placed on a desk job at the State Dept., where he continues to draw his salary. He has successfully sued the insurance company that carries his tenant’s insurance on the house he rents in Virginia so that the insurance company will now have to cover his legal expenses in the separate civil case for wrongful death filed against him by the Elderts family.
June 15–State Circuit Judge Karen Ahn has removed from her calendar a hearing on a motion by the attorney for Christopher Deedy to dismiss a murder charge against the State Department special agent.
Ahn had scheduled July 13 to hear motions by Deedy’s attorney, Brook Hart, who wants the murder case dismissed. Deedy, 28, is scheduled to stand trial in Ahn’s court on Sept. 10 on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm.
Hart said Thursday he does not view Ahn’s action as a setback. No reason was given for the hearing’s removal from her calendar. He said there are other motions he is considering, as well as the possibility of moving Deedy’s case to federal court.
Earlier, Hart said Deedy was in Honolulu as a federal law enforcement officer on an official U.S. State Department assignment with the power of arrest and the right to carry a firearm when he shot and killed Kollin Elderts, 23, Nov. 5 at a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant.
In legal papers filed in Circuit Court June 8 opposing Hart’s request for more materials, city Deputy Prosector Janice Futa said Deedy was “the first aggressor” in an early morning fight inside the fast-food restaurant.
Futa said “independent witnesses stated that Deedy acted as the first aggressor, escalating a verbal argument into a physical confrontation when he (Deedy) thrust kicked Elderts in the chest/stomach area and threw his slippers at Elderts, striking Elderts in the head.”
She said all police reports as well as relevant written or recorded witness statements have been provided to Hart. Futa said Hart is “conducting a fishing expedition” with his requests.
She also said Hart’s request for the criminal records of Elderts, his companion that night — Shane Medeiros — and potential witnesses, and for the birth dates and Social Security numbers of all potential witnesses, is not relevant to the case.
Earlier this month, Ahn, a former congressional aide and television journalist, granted a prosecution request to seal the restaurant’s surveillance videos.
The judge also kept private portions of the court document referring to events depicted on the surveillance videos of the shooting. Hart and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, its television news partner Hawaii News Now and online news site Hawaii Reporter opposed the sealing.
Ahn ruled that the videos, if released, would essentially go viral on the Internet and provide images that could jeopardize a fair trial for the prosecution, defense or both.
Hart filed the dismissal motion and exhibits that included the surveillance videos on May 14, which as court filings normally would have been public. But the filings were kept private because of the prosecution’s pending request and the judge’s ruling.
Hart has said federal law empowers a federal officer to act within the scope of his duties to protect a person from a “crime of violence.”
Deedy acted, Hart has said, in response to “attacks” on himself and a friend.
The State Department has said Deedy was in Hawaii as a member of its Bureau of Diplomatic Security to provide security for leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
Deedy is free on $250,000 bail and has returned to his home in Virginia awaiting the Honolulu criminal trial.
(c)2012 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
– from the print edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser