Opening statements have concluded in murder trial of federal age - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Opening statements have concluded in murder trial of federal agent Christopher Deedy; Extended coverage at HawaiiNewsNow.com.

The murder trial for federal agent Christopher Deedy began just before 10 a.m. on Monday, with an attorney for the prosecution delivering an opening statement describing the state's understanding of what happened the night a 23-year-old man was killed at a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki.

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Deedy is charged with second-degree murder in the November 2011 death of Kollin Elderts, of Kailua. Deedy, a federal agent with the U.S. State Department, was in Honolulu for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit at the time of the shooting.

In her opening statement, Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa called the fatal encounter between the two at McDonald's a "disastrous convergence of paths between the defendant and Kollin Elderts."

"The shot that killed Kollin was one of three that was fired at him and the only one that hit him, but it was enough," she said.

Futa also claimed that Deedy's decision to carry his Glock weapon likely resulted from an acquaintance of his alerting him to some of the dangers of Oahu.

"[He] warned the defendant that some parts of the island were more dangerous [for tourists] than others, told him he had to be on his guard, and told him it was especially bad at night."

Futa described at length the sequence of events that led to the shooting:

"The defendant is up and draws from his right rear hip area the gun. Kollin turns around and sees him, and the defendant, within three feet of Kollin Elderts, fires his gun.  He misses.  Kollin, now having been shot at by the defendant, lunges toward him reaching for the gun.  They grapple in front of the counter and then two more shots ring out.  After the shots, Kollin falls on top of the defendant onto the floor.  The third bullet was fired.  After the third bullet was fired the gun jams." 

Defense attorney Brook Hart, meanwhile, argued that while Deedy may have consumed beer prior to the altercation with Elderts, he was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting.

Hart also argued that Deedy's position with the U.S. State Department authorized him to carry his weapon at all times, regardless of anything that may have been said to him upon his arrival in Honolulu.

"Agent Deedy acted responsibly in self defense… And the evidence will show that he used a number of measured steps to try to sway Mr. Elderts, and Mr. Medeiros for that matter, from their violent assault [prior to the shooting]," said Hart.

According to Hart, Deedy's involvement in the altercation was at least partially because of his background as a law enforcement official with training in conflict resolution. Citing witnesses, Hart details an exchange between Elderts and another man in which swearing was involved.

"This gets Deedy's attention. These are now fighting words," says Hart. "This is a threat of violence. This is what Deedy is trained to perhaps respond to, although he wasn't here to respond to the laws of harassment or bullying, he's a federal agent, and his job is to serve the community."

Deedy then showed Elderts his badge and credentials, to which he allegedly replied, "What, you gonna shoot me? You got a gun? Shoot me. I'm gonna gut you."

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