HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Weeks after the high profile murder trial of a U.S. State Department special agent began in Honolulu, jurors told Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn they were unable to come to a unanimous verdict and a mistrial has been declared in the case.
Special Agent Christopher Deedy, 29, was charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of 23-year-old Kollin Elderts during a scuffle in a Waikiki McDonald's on Nov. 5, 2011. Deedy, who was in Honolulu for the A.P.E.C. meetings, claimed he shot the Kailua man in self defense. Deputy prosecutor Janice Futa argued that Deedy was drunk the night of the shooting and instigated the confrontation.
"It's probably the most difficult experience that any of them have ever had as a family and they're just trying to I think wrap their arms around the notion that Christopher Deedy is still a free man," said Deedy's defense attorney, Brook Hart.
Elderts' family also left without commenting. Futa said she was very disappointed, but indicated that she would not push for a lesser charge of manslaughter in the re-trial.
"Not unless there's new evidence that comes out that would support that charge, but there's nothing that we have seen to support a manslaughter charge," said Futa.
"The judge found there was no evidence of reckless conduct so I don't know how that would change. The facts aren't likely to change," Hart said.
The jurors told the judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict after 20 days of testimony and more than five full days of deliberations. A hung jury means the state will set a date to retry the federal agent on the murder charge, possibly next summer.
"I think the defense will file a motion under State vs. Moriwake which the judge will have some say in whether there will be a new trial," said criminal defense attorney Paul Cunney. "I think there will be some informal polling of the jury and find out how the jury stood numerically."
"There's always the possibility that it will be derailed, but we feel strongly that the right thing to do would be to have a new trial," said Futa.