Diplomatic Security Special Agent Chris Deedy, accused of second degree murder in the shooting death of a Hawaiian man, took the stand to testify. I was unable to locate a transcript of the testimony. However, the Associated Press’ report on the trial quoted Deedy. Text from that article appears below.
As a public service, I have tried to match up Deedy’s version of events with the video of the events. The video is linked at the end of this post if you want to watch along. Most of the times mentioned below refer to the video running time so you can compare and decide for yourself. The actual time passed on-the-ground is noted when it was possible to learn it. As always, it is up to the jury to decide, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Tale of the Tape
Deedy said he intervened because Elderts was bothering a customer.
At 1:58 on the video a person wearing a jacket labeled “Security” is seen standing. That same person is present behind Deedy later in the video. The person does not appear to be actively involved in the incident.
The person allegedly being bothered enters at around 3:48 on the video. Already at the counter, Elderts, whom Deedy shot, appears to be speaking to the person. Both have their backs to Deedy in a noisy restaurant. They are a step apart and do not appear to physically interact. Deedy is seated talking with friends. The counter workers do not appear to stop service, though one briefly extends her arm toward Elderts. This is the situation Deedy states he interceded in.
Deedy stands up at 4:39. His female friend stands up and approaches Deedy at around 5:30. Deedy does not appear to speak/engage with anyone until 6:29, after Elderts and the other person have left the counter and taken seats. Deedy has his hands in his pockets and does not appear to have flashed his law enforcement credentials on first encounter.
It is around 8:57 Deedy first appears to show something in his wallet to the seated Elderts. Deedy’s friend Adam Gutowski, who has not been claimed to be a law enforcement official, is also on his feet in front of Elderts. It is unknown if Elderts as a local Hawaiian was familiar with the role of State Department Diplomatic Security as a law enforcement agency with the authority to use deadly force.
Deedy originally claimed as his defense he was acting in his capacity as a federal law enforcement official, but dropped that defense in favor of self defense.
At 10:17 Deedy’s female friend and another person appear to back him away from the seated Elderts. A small crowd has gathered. No one appears to be interceding with Elderts. Elderts stands around 10:24. At 10:33 Deedy reaches behind his back and touches what may be his service weapon.
Elderts and his friend Shane Medeiros attacked his friend, Adam Gutowski, the agent testified. “The dark blood on his face, the kicks connecting to his head,” Deedy said. “I needed to stop this assault.”
This alleged assault of Gutowski does not appear to have been captured on the video from either of the two security cameras. Deedy has been knocked onto the floor at 12:28. He is on his back looking upward.
Deedy said he rose to his feet after being knocked to the floor and stood to face Elderts with his empty hands in front of him. “I was issuing a warning, a command: ‘Stop, I’ll shoot,’” Deedy said. “As I drew my weapon and put my hand forward, I said ‘freeze.’”
This appears to be at 12:32. At 14:23 the final series of events between Deedy and Elderts that ended in the shooting takes place. 14:35 shows a seated patron covering his ears. Deedy and Elderts are still standing.
The unidentified people talking over the video discuss the on-the-ground timing between the start of the events and the person covering his ears. They say four tenths of a second passed. It appears the implication is that the ear covering signifies the first of the three shots Deedy fired. This suggests Deedy’s verbal commands, warning and first shot may have taken place in a very short period of time.
Deedy used footage from a bystander’s cellphone camera to show that he used his knife to help cut Eldert’s shirt and rendered aid.
What happened after the shots on the floor cannot be seen on the publicly available video. However, Deedy is seen on his feet and across the restaurant at 16:49 on the video. The commentators say the on-the-ground time at this point is 2:43:11.
This would suggest approximately one minute passed between the first shot, whatever happened on the ground out of sight, and Deedy stepping away.
At 17:53 on the video Deedy appears to pick one or two things off the floor and may put them in his pants pocket. This seems to take place before any aid was rendered to Elderts. A person in law enforcement who viewed this video suggested that Deedy may be recovering his spent cartridges, the brass part expelled from a weapon when fired. Recovered brass, if available to the police, can potentially be used a evidence from a crime scene.
Deedy returns to the prone Elderts. This may be the time when Deedy stated he rendered first aid. Deedy testified that “he used his knife to help cut Eldert’s shirt and rendered aid. He’s heard on the video — amid Hawaiian music playing in the restaurant — imploring Elderts to breathe.”
More from Deedy’s Testimony
Deedy said he was shocked to hear he was being arrested for murder after fighting for his life.
In his testimony shown on video, Deedy stated he first learned he was arrested for murder when he overheard a police officer mention it on a cell phone (or the radio, Deedy said he was unsure which device was used) while in the police car. A person in law enforcement who viewed this video told me that police typically state one’s reason for arrest at the time of arrest, though at times charges can be added later. It is unknown how much time passed between Deedy being arrested inside the restaurant and his overhearing the reason for his arrest inside the car.
Deedy spent most of his testimony during the first two days speaking about moments displayed on frames of security camera footage. At one point Wednesday afternoon, he gave a hint of fatigue, saying he’d been watching the video for hours but didn’t recall the events in frame grabs.
A prosecutor began cross-examining Deedy in the afternoon. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa asked him why he told a nurse at the hospital that he hadn’t been drinking.
“I don’t recall any of the questions she asked me,” Deedy said. “I just said no to everything.”
Deedy said in court however he only had about four beers or less over 5 ½ hours that night.
Comment: I was unable to learn from State’s Diplomatic Security what its regulations are for its agents carrying their service weapon while drinking, or to intervene in things after drinking. Deedy refused to take a sobriety test at the scene and the Hawaiian police did not seek to compel him to do so.
Hawaii self-defense law contains a provision that outside one’s home one is required to retreat and avoid a confrontation unless in fear of one’s life. At what point the requirement to retreat kicks in and out will likely be a point of law argued in Deedy’s case.
One source describes the Hawaiian law as:
You can use deadly force when you believe it is the only viable means necessary to prevent a threat of death, serious bodily harm, kidnapping, rape or forcible sodomy. You have no duty to retreat if these actions take place in your dwelling or place of work. If the threat occurs in a place other than your home or place of work you have a duty to retreat if you are able to do so in “complete safety.”
The question Hawaiian law seems to demand an answer to is this: Did a Man have to die?
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