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Deedy retrial: Closing arguments now set for Tuesday

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 6:44 p.m. HST, Jul 31, 2014

The jurors in the Christopher Deedy murder trial went home for the weekend after hearing testimony Thursday afternoon from the final witness. 

State Circuit Judge Karen Ahn told the jury to return Tuesday for closing arguments and instructions before deliberations begin.

She had told them Wednesday to expect to get the case Friday. But after having a discussion with lawyers from both sides, she said there wasn't enough time Friday to come to an agreement on the wording of the jury's instructions, for her to read the instructions to them and for the lawyers to make their closing arguments.

Ahn is scheduled to meet with the lawyers Friday afternoon to talk about the instructions, including whether or not to give jurors the option to consider manslaughter and any other lesser crimes.

Deedy, 30, is on trial a second time for murder for killing 23-year-old Kollin Elderts in a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant in November 2011, and for using a firearm to commit the murder. Deedy testified that he intentionally shot and killed Elderts to protect him and his friend Adam Gutowski against further assault at the hands of Elderts and his friend Shane Medeiros.

He is a U.S. State Department special agent and was assigned to the Washington D.C. field office. He had arrived in Honolulu barely 12 hours earlier to provide security for the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic summit but was off duty at the time.

This is Deedy's second trial for murder because the first one last year ended with a hung jury.

A defense medical expert told jurors Thursday morning that he believes Kollin Elderts was under the influence of a substance his body produced when it processed cocaine and alcohol at the same time, when Deedy fatally shot him.

Forensic pathologist Jonathan L. Arden said he believes Elderts was under the influence of cocaethylene because the stimulant was found in the thick fluid inside Elderts' eyeballs.

"Cocaine and its products tend to distribute quickly through various compartments in the body. And so it's presence there is indicative of it being present in the blood as well," he said.

Arden testified that cocaethylene has the same effects on a person as cocaine but to a slightly lesser degree.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn ruled before trial that Arden cannot testify that Elderts was under the influence of cocaine because none was detected in his blood. 

Former Honolulu chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kanthi De Alwis had testified that she did not have Elderts' blood tested for cocaethylene because there was not enough of a blood sample for the test.

Other test showed that Elderts' blood did contain the active ingredient and byproduct of marijuana and an alcohol concentration of 0.127, more than one-and-a-half times the legal threshold for drunken driving.

Deedy had earlier testified he believed Elderts was under the influence of a stimulant when he shot him.

Defense lawyer Thomas Otake has told the jurors that while Deedy had been bar-hopping earlier that night, he was not drunk. He said Deedy identified himself as a law enforcement officer before shooting Elderts, after Elderts and his friend attacked Deedy and his friend.

Prosecutor Janice Futa has contended it was Deedy who attacked Elderts, and that the special agent was drunk and did not identify himself as a law enforcement to anyone in the restaurant until after the shooting in the early morning of Nov. 5, 2011.  

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