Hawaiian newspapers reported today that the judge declared a mistrial Monday in the Second Degree murder trial of State Department special agent Chris Deedy. Jurors said they couldn’t unanimously decide whether Deedy is guilty of murder in the early-morning shooting of a customer at a McDonald’s restaurant in Waikiki.
Hawaii 1st Circuit Judge Karen Ahn set a hearing for Friday to determine a date for a new trial, after mentioning next spring as a potential date. The shooting took place almost two years ago.
The victim’s family also has a civil suit pending against Deedy in connection with the shooting.
During closing arguments, the prosecutor called Deedy a “bully with a badge,” telling jurors Elderts, of Kailua, was killed because Deedy interjected himself in a situation that wasn’t any of his business and refused to back down. Defense attorney Karl Blanke acknowledged that Deedy shot and killed Elderts but said it wasn’t murder. Deedy’s “intent was to protect life,” Blanke said in his closing argument. The defense painted Elderts as a hothead who had been drinking heavily and doing drugs. Elderts referred to Deedy as a haole — a Hawaiian term for a white person — in a derogatory way, the defense claimed.
Deedy’s family, including his parents and his wife, were present throughout the trial. They’re “trying to wrap their arms around the notion he’s still a free man,” one of Deedy’s lawyers said. “He’s still an agent of the United States State Department and has a job to do.”
Before the mistrial was declared Wednesday, Judge Ahn unexpectedly cleared the courtroom’s spectators for a few minutes without providing a reason. Attorneys on both sides declined to say what was discussed.
The jurors told the judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict after twenty 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.
“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 Prosecutor Futa.
BONUS: We reported previously that within days after the Deedy shooting in 2011, the Department State without explanation classified its long-standing unclassified rules governing the armed conduct of Diplomatic Security agents.
An alert reader, and God bless the internet, found the rules in unclassified form still alive on line. Have a look at what now only select persons are allowed officially to see (p 40 at the link.)
Note in particular Section 2.6B(5) which prohibits consumption of alcohol within six hours of use of deadly force, though there is the escape clause noting that the booze must impair judgement or ability.
While we can never know if this unclassified version of DS firearms policy differs or not from the freshly-classified version, as a Concerned Citizen and a Good German, I encourage Diplomatic Security to immediately shut down Google as a threat to national security. Since the document is actually part of the Congressional Record, I suggest they also immediately shut down Congress as a threat to national security. Since the document was provided to Congress by the State Department, I suggest they also immediately shut down State as a threat to national security.
Instead, they’ll probably just arrest me for providing the link.
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