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Jury selection gets underway in federal agent's murder trial

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 10:30 p.m. HST, Jul 17, 2013

A weeks-long jury selection process opened Monday for State Department special agent Christopher Deedy's trial on a charge of murdering a Kailua man in a 2011 Waikiki shooting.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn told prospective jurors that officials expect to select a jury by May 27 and that opening statements for the trial are set for July 1.

Ahn said the trial is expected to be completed by Aug. 23.

The selection process is considerably longer than for most murder trials because of the massive media coverage of the shooting that occurred just before the start of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

Deedy, who turns 29 today, was in Hono­lulu to provide security for the conference.

He is accused of murdering Kollin Elderts, 23, with a gunshot to his chest at about 2:45 a.m. Nov. 11, 2011, at the McDonald's restaurant on Kuhio Avenue.

Deedy is free on $250,000 bail and was permitted to reside at home in Virginia, but has returned for the jury selection and trial.

Seven of about 130 prospective jurors indicated to Judge Ahn on Monday that they had never heard or seen any reports about the case.

Judge Ahn and the lawyers began questioning the rest individually about what they knew about the case and whether they could set that aside and be fair in deciding the case based on the law and the evidence.

Six days were set aside for the individual questioning.

Another group is scheduled to appear at the courthouse Monday, and a third group later this month.

Although the jury might be picked by the end of May, the judge is scheduled to go on a three-week vacation in June.

Prosecutors said Deedy appeared to be drunk after a night of drinking and bar-hopping before he became aggressive, kicked Elderts and shot him.

The defense contends Elderts was the drunken aggressor and that Deedy acted as a federal law enforcement officer in protecting himself and others.

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