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Prosecutor opposes moving murder case

July 13, 2012

HONOLULU - Too much time has passed between a federal agent being charged in a shooting death at a Waikiki McDonald's and his defense attorney's request to move the case to federal court, a Honolulu prosecutor said.

State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy's defense attorney filed a motion last month to move the case out of state court. The defense argues that federal court would be in a better position to move the case to another federal district if Deedy, a federal employee, can't get a fair and impartial jury in Honolulu.

The defendant's motion "fails to provide any valid explanation as to why defendant could not have filed a timely notice of removal, nor does it demonstrate any good cause to now remove," Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa said in papers filed in federal court.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday first reported on Futa's response.

Futa argues that Deedy's request amounts to "forum shopping" and that his attorney knew immediately after the November shooting that his client is a federal agent who was in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Deedy is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kollin Elderts of Kailua. He has pleaded not guilty; Deedy's defense attorney claims that the agent intervened when Elderts was harassing a McDonald's customer with racial slurs.

"As it is now over seven months since defendant's arraignment in state court, unless defendant provides this court with definitive proof, not just speculation, that he will not be able to get a fair and impartial jury in state court in any circumstance due to the allegedly negative pretrial publicity surrounding the case, there is no reason to further delay proceedings in state court by granting defendant leave to file notice of removal," Futa wrote.

Deedy's trial in state court is scheduled for September. He's free on $250,000 bail and has been allowed to return home to Arlington, Va., to await trial.



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