'Frustratingly Fuzzy' Video Could Mean Prison or Freedom for Federal Agent

Nick Grube/Honolulu Civil Beat

After a day of opening arguments in the Christopher Deedy murder trial one thing is apparent: much of the case will rest on a choppy surveillance video and the perceptions of jurors.

Deedy is a U.S. State Department special agent who was in Honolulu in November 2011 as part of a diplomatic security detail for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 5, he was in a Waikiki McDonald’s with friends where he encountered 23-year-old Kollin Elderts, of Kailua. The two men exchanged words and started to fight. Deedy fired three rounds from the semi-automatic Glock 26 he had taken out on the town with him.

One hollow-point bullet struck Elderts in the chest, killing him. Cause of death was a loss of blood.

The fact that Deedy was the shooter is not at issue in the case. Both the prosecution and defense agree that the federal agent is the man who pulled the trigger.

But both sides are asking jurors to determine who the aggressor was and whether Deedy was acting in self defense when he decided to shoot Elderts.

What makes these difficult questions for jurors to answer, however, is that much will rely on a surveillance video from the fast-food restaurant that — if you ask the opposing attorneys — shows two very different accounts of what happened.

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