“What’s all the commotion over here?” said a grumbling Hawaii Circuit Court employee to a bailiff directing cameramen toward the end of the hallway.
“Oh, that State Department guy,” said the bailiff, also oozing Monday morning morose and getting his work week started with the relative circus that accompanied a preliminary arraignment for 27-year-old Christopher Deedy, a special agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Deedy, who is from Arlington, Virginia, was indicted last Wednesday by an Oahu grand jury for second degree murder and using a firearm to commit a crime in the Nov. 5 incident that left 23-year-old Kailua resident Kollin Elderts dead.
“He offers to enter a plea of not guilty for the charges,” said Deedy’s attorney Brook Hart before Judge Richard Perkins, who deferred the case to Judge Karren Ahn for the week of Jan. 23.
Deedy stood solemn and erect beside his lawyer in a black, pinstriped suit and red striped tie. His comely wife, Stephanie, sat behind him. Neither Deedy, nor his wife have uttered a word to the press.
The shooting happened in the early morning of Nov. 5, at about 3am. Although the facts have yet to be determined, what is known is that an altercation took place between Elderts and Deedy, which initially led to a brief physical fight and ultimately resulted in Deedy shooting Elderts in the chest.
Since the incident happened, the media has run the gamut of partiality and printed many statements from anonymous sources resulting in all manner of gossip about what actually happened.
One of the biggest questions that has been raised is whether or not Deedy should have been carrying a firearm in the first place. According to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), enacted in 2004, Christopher Deedy–as a qualified law enforcement officer–is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the US, but also, in order to exercise these privileges, Deedy should have been carrying his badge (the flashing of which could possibly have prevented the whole incident). Another stipulation of LEOSA: The officer cannot be under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substances.
Star Advertiser recently ran rhetorical headings such as “Waikiki shooting victim had alcohol in his system,” and “Alcohol, drugs found in Kailua man’s body,” (as if Elderts were the one on trial), while simply glazing over information stating that Deedy himself may well have been drinking and declined a blood alcohol test by Honolulu Police. As the trial moves forward, hopefully some questions will be answered about Deedy’s whereabouts before the incident.
“There have been a lot of misperceptions reported in the media,” said Deedy’s attorney Brook Hart in a KITV interview last week. Hart is a long time law practitioner in Hawaii and is critical of the hearsay that has surfaced since the incident, adding: “That’s not an effective way to inform the community about a case that’s going to need a fair and impartial jury on some occasion.”
Deedy stood before Judge Perkins for less than two minutes on Monday morning, and then took a seat in the first row next to his wife. After the courtroom emptied of reporters and proceedings for other trials commenced, the two walked out hand in hand accompanied by Brook Hart. They were reluctantly greeted by flash bulbs, murmurs and two protesters holding signs saying “Justice for Kollin Elderts.”