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Now that the high-profile murder trial has ended, longtime lawyers on both sides of the bench are questioning how the Christopher Deedy murder case played out.
Attorneys say from day one it was never a “slam dunk” case. That’s why some are calling it “unusual” or “odd” that the prosecution didn’t push to add manslaughter as an option for jurors to consider.
“How do you not ask for it? I don’t get it?” attorney Michael Green said.
Attorneys with years of experience in criminal cases, are all asking the same question. Why did the prosecutor not want jurors to consider the lesser option of manslaughter in the murder trial?
“It was amazing that the prosecutor did not make a push for that. They seemed to have just stepped back and just said, ‘Okay. Yeah, we agree with the court,’” defense attorney Victor Bakke said.
“From doing these cases, so many murder cases I can’t count. It’s highly unusual,” said Kenneth Lawson, University of Hawaii William Richardson School of Law professor.
In Hawaii, manslaughter is committed if the person recklessly causes the death of another person. But all jurors could consider was second-degree murder and whether the death of Kollin Elderts was caused intentionally or knowingly.
“Was there enough to convict of manslaughter? I have no idea, but at least it should have been considered. I think the family is owed answers to those questions what happened,” Lawson said.
Deputy prosecutor Janice Futa’s decision to not push for the lesser charge and her handling of the trial are being scrutinized.
“Her argument from the very beginning was reckless. Her argument was manslaughter,” Bakke said.
“I have reason to believe she did the best she could, but there are at least three deputy prosecutors over there who do this routinely these kinds of cases, the most violent cases we have in this community. Three that do them routinely. They would have been a lot tougher on Deedy,” Green said.
Green is representing Elderts’ family, who says the outcome makes “no sense” to them.
“I have a family in shock, who are no better off today then when they lost their son,” Green said.
The jury in this case, faced with an all-or-nothing decision, were “hopeless deadlocked” on reaching a unanimous decision.
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