After two trials without a guilty verdict, Judge Karen Ahn must now decide if Christopher Deedy should be tried for a third time on the counts where the jury could not agree.
Experts say it seems unlikely and there’s a good chance that the case will be dismissed.
KHON2 spoke with a law school professor, a former prosecutor and a defense attorney. None of them are surprised with the outcome and the consensus is that a third trial would be a waste of time.
Experts say once the prosecution and the defense laid out their case, there was no clear direction on where the jury would go. It came down to self-defense and experts say jurors seemed convinced that Deedy had a right to defend himself when he and Elderts started wrestling.
“If you got self-defense, obviously some people believe that Deedy was allowed to defend himself, they’re not going to roll over. That’s where you get the hung jury,” said defense attorney Paul Cunney.
In the first trial, jurors voted eight to four in favor of acquittal. It’s unknown how the jurors voted Thursday, but when they were polled earlier by the judge, four of them said they could not agree on a verdict even if they were given more time.
“We’ve had two trials. They both ended in hung juries. One trial, you said he didn’t get manslaughter. This trial, they gave you the manslaughter (option). Even with the manslaughter and another misdemeanor charge of assault, you still couldn’t get a conviction,” said University of Hawaii Law School professor Ken Lawson.
Lawson says it’s a good reason to dismiss the case, because at that point, it becomes a waste of time.
“I just don’t think that 12 people will go, ‘I think the judge would throw this case out,'” said Cunney.
Former prosecutor Peter Carlisle said if jurors in the second trial were closer to a conviction of manslaughter, then a third trial would make sense.
“There is a potential of that actually being tried, but then again, you have to look at the conduct of the prosecutor, and the conduct of the prosecutor was basically insisting that there be a trial on nothing but murder,” Carlisle said.
But then again, the prosecutor had first insisted that she wanted nothing but murder, so Carlisle says if the judge considers that, then there’s really no good reason for a third trial.
Judge Ahn has scheduled a status conference for August 29 to discuss whether there will be a third trial.