POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 22, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 1:42 a.m. HST, Dec 22, 2012
If State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy's court testimony on his request to have his murder charge dismissed can be used against him later in his trial, Deedy might decide not to testify at the hearing or might even withdraw his request to dismiss the charge, his lawyer Brook Hart said in state court Friday.
Deedy, 28, is awaiting trial in April for second-degree murder for the Nov. 5, 2011, shooting death of 23-year-old Kollin Elderts in a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn had scheduled a Jan. 22 hearing on Deedy's request to dismiss the charge. She rescheduled the hearing to Feb. 25 after Hart handed her new legal papers Thursday asking her to limit the use of Deedy's testimony in the hearing to his request to dismiss the murder charge. Ahn pushed back the hearing date to give the state time to respond.
Ahn said she doesn't believe Hawaii courts have ever considered such a request.
The February hearing may be the first opportunity for the public to see the McDonald's surveillance video of the shooting and the events leading up to it; Ahn has prohibited its release.
Both sides have given their interpretations in legal papers of what led to the shooting. The state points to Deedy as the one who started the fight and the primary aggressor. Deedy says it was Elderts who started the fight and was the primary aggressor.
Deedy was in Honolulu to provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which drew world leaders to Waikiki later that November. He claims the murder charge against him should be dismissed because he was performing his duties as a federal law enforcement officer to protect the lives of himself and others at the time of the shooting.
Hart also presented Ahn with a proposed 78-item questionnaire for prospective jurors. He said the questionnaire will make it easier for the court to weed out people who may have already formed an opinion about Deedy's guilt or innocence because of their exposure to pretrial publicity about the case or other reasons.
The state proposed a 23-item questionnaire.
Ahn rejected both and said she will instead have a simple, seven-item questionnaire mailed to the homes of about 1,000 prospective jurors on Oahu.
"I don't want them to necessarily know that the one-month case that they're being called for is this case, because my fear is that they're going to go onto the Internet or talk with other people about the case. And that's the very thing we are trying to avoid," Ahn said.