Judge will allow manslaughter in Christopher Deedy retrial

Judge will allow manslaughter in Christopher Deedy retrial
Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn ruled Friday to add a lesser offense to Christopher Deedy's murder retrial.

"I will deny the motion not to give manslaughter and I will give reckless manslaughter," she said.

Ahn said prosecution witness Alexander Byrd's testimony that bullets were going "just everywhere" in the Waikiki McDonald's when Deedy struggled with Kollin Elderts supports her decision.

Deedy's defense attorney Thomas Otake disagreed.

"Mr. Deedy said very clearly, 'I intended to pull the trigger three times. That was the conduct, and I intended to do it.' It didn't happen recklessly," he said.

Deedy, 30, is accused of fatally shooting Elderts in November, 2011. The 23-year-old Kailua man bled to death from a single gunshot to the chest. Deedy claims self-defense.

Ahn said this year's testimony raised the question of whether or not Deedy had a firm grip on his gun when he pulled the trigger. She made the ruling despite no request for a manslaughter charge from prosecutors.

"Just as in last year we maintain that same position that there's no rational basis, any evidence, to the giving of the manslaughter instruction," deputy prosecutor Chasid Sapolu said.

"Clearly the defense doesn't want that because Mr. Deedy would face 20 years in jail. But it's puzzling that the prosecution does not at least want a conviction," defense attorney Todd Eddins said.

"At the first trial I thought the evidence for manslaughter was thin," Ahn said.

She was criticized for not adding manslaughter to the list last year. That trial ended in a hung jury. The lesser charge now gives jurors another option.

"If you take a look at this case there's a lot of wrong going on on both sides. It would be a very difficult case, in my opinion, to come back with a murder verdict," former city prosecutor Peter Carlisle said.

The jury will hear Ahn's instructions that now include reckless manslaughter when closing arguments are made on Tuesday.
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