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Retrial for federal agent set for June 16

September 14, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A Hawaii judge on Friday set a June retrial for a federal agent accused of murder in a late-night restaurant shooting in Waikiki in 2011.

Hawaii 1st Circuit Judge Karen Ahn set a June 16 date to begin jury selection in a new trial for Christopher Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va. Ahn told lawyers Deedy's new trial will begin immediately after jurors are chosen.

Deedy is charged with second-degree murder for killing Kollin Elderts, 23, of Kailua during an early-morning altercation inside a McDonald's restaurant. Deedy doesn't dispute killing Elderts but contends it was in self-defense.

Jurors ended Deedy's first trial deadlocked, with eight jurors for acquittal and four jurors for conviction. Ahn declared a mistrial last month after polling jurors, who said more time wouldn't resolve the split.

Deedy will have a new lead attorney at the retrial, Thomas Otake. Deedy's previous attorney, Brook Hart, is staying on as counsel but is reducing his role because of other clients and the expected birth of a grandchild in the spring.

"We do want to pay attention to our other clients," Hart said.

Otake requested an August trial to allow him time to get up to speed on the case. He also argued that more time would make it easier to schedule witnesses and find jurors in Honolulu given heavy news coverage of the case, including live Web streaming of the trial and consistent front-page headlines.

"Obviously, as time goes on, memories fade and perhaps there will be jurors where if it was set sooner may remember more about what they heard on the news," Otake said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa responded by arguing the retrial should happen as soon as possible to avoid faded memories among witnesses.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," Futa said. "This is a case where that would happen."

Ahn set a Feb. 3 deadline for pretrial motions, with a hearing to be scheduled in March.



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