A judge has moved one step closer to what could lead to yet another trial in the case of federal agent Christopher Deedy.
Earlier this month, a jury found Deedy not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Kollin Elderts in 2011.
But they couldn’t reach a decision on the lesser charges of reckless manslaughter and assault.
On Friday, Judge Karen Ahn set the stage for a possible third trial the week of September 8, 2015.
Both sides are gearing up for what will now be a battle of motions. While the defense wants this case to go away, prosecutors say they will not rest until they reach some kind of conviction.
Former city prosecutor Peter Carlisle says there is evidence to support the remaining charges if the case goes to trial yet again.
“If a judge decides that there should be a third trial then it will be, in my opinion, sensible to pursue it,” said Carlisle. “but one last time – and one last time at all. And that’s simply because clearly this was a situation were a life was lost.”
But University of Hawaii law professor and former criminal defense attorney Ken Lawson says that to even attempt to take Deedy for trial on the lesser charge of manslaughter would be difficult because the prosecution in two previous trials pushed for a murder conviction.
“Now that the last jury acquitted on murder, for you to come back now and charge a third time for a crime you’ve already said twice you didn’t think (Deedy) committed – is ludicrous,” said Lawson. “it’s a waste of taxpayer’s money – it’s a waste of time.”
“Clearly this was a situation where a gun was used by someone who was not in the right state of mind in terms of sobriety, in my opinion,” Carlisle said. “That is every reason in the world why you should not let something like this go unpunished.”
The prosecution told KHON2 that it intends to press for the new trial, but has not yet determined what charge or charges it will pursue.
Defense attorney Thomas Otake said that he will move to dismiss the case and he will have until November to file his motion.
While there is still no decision on whether there will be a third trial, we asked the prosecutor’s office what the cost to date is of the two previous trials. A spokesman said that the prosecutor’s office does not calculate costs for any trial.
Nonohe Botelho, National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, spoke on behalf of the Elderts family. “They are still really devastated, but they’re really willing to see Christopher Deedy pay for Kollin Elderts, willing to do whatever it takes.”
In a statement, the Elderts Family Justice for Kollin Elderts Coalition said:
The news that there will be a third trial in the killing of Kollin Elderts is bittersweet. Our family has been re-victimized over and over again. Witnessing the trial, watching our son and brother killed over and over again, has been horrific. Traumatizing. But what would be worse is to have Kollin’s killer be free, with no penalty and no justice. It’s the lesser of two evils.
As we can see in the Ferguson killing of Michael Brown, we need to take a tough look at how law enforcement is trained to view everyday people. Jaywalking, buying Skittles wearing a hoodie, getting into a scuffle at a fast-food restaurant with an unidentified stranger…none of these are reasons for execution. Yet Agent Deedy and the USDSS repeat the same mantra… shoot for center mass. Take down the aggressor. No matter how minor the transgression
Agent Deedy came to Hawaii not to protect the people. He came to terrorize us. And for this reason he should be tried, convicted, and pay for what he has done.