Retrial of federal agent begins in Hawaii killing

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm •  Published: July 10, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — The attorney for a federal agent charged with murder in Hawaii told jurors Thursday that the defendant acted in line with his law-enforcement training when he shot and killed a man inside a fast-food restaurant in 2011.

State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy of Arlington, Virginia, was back at the defense table a year after his first trial ended with a deadlocked jury and a mistrial was declared. Eight jurors were in favor of acquittal and four were for conviction, the previous jury's foreman said last year.

Defense attorney Thomas Otake said during his opening statement that the then-27-year-old agent was protecting himself and others from an aggressive Kollin Elderts, who was shot during an early morning altercation in a Waikiki McDonald's in November 2011.

Otake said it was best to begin at the end of the story, when Deedy found himself pinned under the wounded Elderts and tried to render aid.

After pushing Elderts off of him, Deedy got down on his knees and covered the wound, Otake said.

"He tried to stop the bleeding. He tried to save Mr. Elderts' life," the lawyer told jurors.

Judge Karen Ahn previously decided the current jury won't see the portion of a bystander's cellphone video showing Deedy trying to render the aid. The jury in the first trial saw the entire footage.

Otake replaced lawyer Brook Hart, who defended Deedy at his first trial.

The prosecution team remained the same.

In her opening statement, Honolulu Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa echoed much of what she told jurors last year: Deedy was fueled by alcohol, power and a warning from a fellow agent about the hostility of Hawaii locals toward government employees and outsiders.

The prosecutor told jurors that Elderts, 23, of Kailua, was spending the night in Waikiki to celebrate the birthdays of friends. He was in a good mood when he and friend Shane Medeiros changed their minds about going to eat at Denny's and instead stopped at the McDonald's for a snack to end the night, Futa said.