BY JIM DOOLEY – In a flurry of motions this week, the attorney for accused murderer Christopher Deedy said
the State Department security officer is immune from state criminal charges and accused prosecutors of improperly recording evidence against Deedy given to the grand jury last year.
In a related court development today, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that Deedy’s legal expenses in a wrongful death lawsuit pending against him here are covered by a renter’s insurance policy issued to Deedy and his wife in Arlington, VA in late 2010 by Allstate Insurance Co.
Deedy is accused of fatally shooting Honolulu man Kollin Elderts last year during an early morning altercation in a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant. Deedy was in Hawaii to provide security at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
The motion filed by defense attorney Brook Hart asserting immunity from state prosecution was removed from the court file after Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Jan Futa filed a motion to seal it.
A hearing on the motion to seal is scheduled before Circuit Judge Karen Ahn May 24.
Futa argued that the content of Hart’s motion, which includes “numerous still photos taken from the surveillance video” at McDonald’s when Elderts was killed, would create prejudicial pretrial publicity.
Hart said he would withhold pubic comment on Futa’s motion until the hearing.
In a separate motion that was not sealed by Ahn, Hart argued that prosecutors kept an incomplete record of the presentation of the surveillance video to the grand jury that indicted Deedy for murder last year.
A separate video recording of the grand jury session when the surveillance tape was played on a television did not show the actual tv screen, so the defense has no way of verifying that comments from prosecutors and police to the grand jury matched what was playing on the screen.
Attached to the motion was a partial transcript of testimony to the grand jury, including testimony from Police Detective Ted Coons.
Coons told the grand jury that a friend of Elderts, Shane Medeiros, told police that Deedy and Elderts became
involved in a verbal confrontation inside McDonalds that escalated into physical violence.
After Elderts made a “joking” comment to a customer in the restaurant, Deedy spoke with Elderts and an argument developed between the two, Coons said Medeiros told him
Medeiros said he “heard Deedy tell Kollin like you’re gonna get shot,” Coons testified.
“Kollin then responds to Deedy, ‘what you’re gonna – you’re gonna shot me?’” according to Coons.
Deedy then said, “You’re gonna get shot, something ike this can get you shot,” Coons said.
The two began fighting and Elderts was shot in the chest by Deedy, according to Medeiros’ version of events.
Medeiros claimed that he “did not hear anyone identify himself as a law enforcement officer” before or during the altercation.
In another motion filed by Hart this week, he asked Ahn to extend the start of the trial into next year, arguing that he needs additional time to adequately complete discovery of evidence, including testimony from witnesses.
Another legal dispute related to the killing is playing out in federal court, where the family of Elderts has filed a civil suit against Deedy.
Deedy made a claim against his Virginia renter’s insurance policy for coverage of his legal expenses in the lawsuit.
In Virginia federal court, Allstate said it was not obligated to pay Deedy’s legal expenses.
Today, Virginia U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ruled for Deedy, holding that Allstate has “a duty to defend” him in the suit.
Local attorney Robert Richards, who represents Deedy in the civil case here, confirmed that Allstate is now liable for Deedy’s legal bills.
Richards said he doesn’t expect the trial in the civil case to begin until after completion of the criminal case.
Michael Green, who represents the Elderts family in the civil case, said the U.S. State Department and Justice Department have not made a decision on whether to defend Deedy in the civil case.