HONOLULU — A U.S. State Department special agent who shot and killed a man in a Hawaii fast-food restaurant in 2011 can be tried a third time, a U.S. appeals court judge ruled Thursday.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state can try federal agent Christopher Deedy for assault, but not manslaughter, the Star-Advertiser reported Friday.
The ruling brings Deedy and his lawyer one step closer to ending this “corrupt effort” by prosecutors, lawyer Thomas Otake said.
Jurors in the first murder trial in 2013 ended deadlocked on second-degree murder, officials said. State lawyers and Deedy said the evidence did not support manslaughter.
Jurors in a second murder trial in 2014 acquitted him of murder but ended deadlocked on manslaughter after being told they could consider manslaughter and assault.
Deedy testified in both of his trials that he intentionally shot 23-year-old Kollin Elderts during a struggle November 2011 in a Waikiki McDonald’s to protect himself and others. He was 27 years old.
Deedy was in Honolulu providing security for the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
State Circuit Judge Karen Ahn ordered a third trial for manslaughter, but Deedy appealed, officials said. A federal court then ordered the state to dismiss the criminal case and the state appealed.
The ruling this week found that when Ahn made a finding in the first trial that the evidence did not support manslaughter, she acquitted Deedy of the charge, federal court officials said. But since Ahn did not make a similar finding for assault, the state can retry Deedy for first- and second-degree assault.
Under Hawaii law, first-degree assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and second-degree assault is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com