Prosecutor won’t pursue 3rd trial against Christopher Deedy in 2011 fatal shooting

Prosecutors failed to convict the former U.S. State Special Agent in two separate murder trials for the 2011 shooting of Kollin Elderts.
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 10:52 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 4:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City Prosecutor Steve Alm announced Monday that “after much thought” he has decided not to pursue a third trial against Christopher Deedy, the federal agent who fatally shot a man a decade ago during an altercation inside a Waikiki McDonald’s.

“This office has had two full chances to convict Christopher Deedy. They were unsuccessful,” Alm said.

A 2013 murder trial for Deedy ended in a hung jury while a second jury in 2014 acquitted him of murder but deadlocked on manslaughter. Up until Monday, Deedy was facing a third trial for assault.

Defense attorney Tommy Otake said his client welcomed the news that the case had been dismissed.

“Enough is enough. This case has literally been going for a decade,” Otake said.

City Prosecutor Steve Alm announced Monday that his office won’t pursue a third trial against Christopher Deedy.

“This isn’t a day to celebrate,” he said. “We’re very mindful of the loss to the Elderts’ family.”

Otake also criticized former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro for his office’s continued pursuit of the case. “Prosecutors are given so much power. And for many years integrity and ethics were lacking at that office,” Otake said. “We appreciate Mr. Alm and the decision he made today.”

The case stems from the fatal 2011 shooting of Kollin Elderts in Waikiki.

Deedy had been in Honolulu providing security for the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. And his attorneys said the U.S. State Department agent had acted in self-defense.

But prosecutors said he was drunk and instigated the confrontation.

A spokesperson for the family said they were disappointed at Alm’s decision and angry about how the case had been handled from the start. They also said they believe an assault conviction was possible.

“If they had listened to the family and had actually heard what they were asking for from the very beginning, we would have had a very different outcome for this,” said Kalamaokaaina Niheu.

Elderts’ loved ones said social justice movements that have gained momentum in recent years gave them hope that the prosecutors office would move forward with another trial. They especially point to the previous administration ― under Keith Kaneshiro ― who they say ignored their request to pursue murder and lesser charges, which they feel the jury would have convicted Deedy of at the time.

Because of prior hung juries, the agent would have been facing assault charges rather than murder or manslaughter. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case over a third trial, essentially upholding a federal judge’s ruling that prosecutors could not pursue a manslaughter charge.

At the time, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office said it might pursue the assault charge against Deedy. Alm said Monday that a third trial for assault would likely result in another hung jury. “It would really be hard to argue that the state has strong case,” he said.

This story will be updated.

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