BY JIM DOOLEY – More details of the fatal confrontation last year between federal agent Christopher Deedy and local resident Kollin Elderts have been revealed in court papers.
Prosecutors allege that Deedy, 28, who has been charged with murder after fatally shooting Elderts, was the “first aggressor” in an altercation that occurred inside a Waikiki McDonalds restaurant.
But the defense argues that videotape of the event, which has been sealed from public view, shows that Elderts, 23, was the aggressor.
Elderts and a companion, Shane Medeiros, were verbally “bullying” customers in the restaurant and Deedy, a special agent with the U.S. State Department who was present in the restaurant with friends, then spoke with Elderts about his behavior, according to the defense.
From legal papers filed late last week by Deputy Prosecutor Jan Futa:
- Deedy “escalated a verbal argument into a physical confrontation when he thrust-kicked Elderts in the chest/stomach and threw his slipper at Elderts, striking Elderts in the head.”
From legal papers filed this morning by defense lawyer Brook Hart:
- After Deedy “calmly and professionally showed Elderts (his) federal badge and credentials,” Elderts stood up and “while reaching into his waistband, angrily advanced toward (Deedy).”
- Deedy then took “several steps backward” as Elderts “menacingly aggressed” toward the agent and “entered (Deedy’s) personal space.”
- Deedy then “deployed a defensive frontal kick to Eldert’s shin area,” losing his slipper in the process.
The recently-filed legal briefs go into no other detail about what happened between the two men after that.
But Hart argued in a May 24 hearing that the McDonalds video shows Deedy “being attacked by Mr. Elderts, knocked to the floor, beaten in the
nose, all before any gun comes out.”
Elderts, a Kailua resident, was fatally shot in the chest.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn sealed the videotape last month, agreeing with the prosecution that public exposure of its contents could generate prejudicial pretrial publicity.
Hart argues that the tape demonstrates that Deedy was acting in the capacity of a federal law enforcement officer and the case against him should be dismissed.
A full hearing on the dismissal motion will be held before Ahn next month.
This morning, Hart and Futa sparred over defense requests for access to evidence in the case.
Hart said he and a video expert need to see the original surveillance tape again and secure copies of three channels of video contained on it.
And he said he needs access to Deedy’s gun, “Bianchi” hip holster and belt as well as to a blood-stained shirt worn by Medeiros.
Futa said additional scientific testing of some materials may need to be conducted before the defense can get access to them.
Hart complained that the prosecution is withholding social security numbers and birth dates of potential witnesses in the case, making it difficult for the defense to research their backgrounds.
He said he also needs to see any notes made by police during “pre-interviews” of witnesses in the case.
Futa said her office and the police have complied with legal rules that control what evidence and “discovery material” is turned over to the defense.
Deedy was in Honolulu in November to provide security for dignitaries participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
He is free on $250,000 bail and has returned to his home in Virginia.
Trial is set to begin later this year but Hart has said he may ask that it be delayed to next year.