Federal agent accused in Oahu slaying takes stand


By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

Associated Press

HONOLULU — A State Department special agent accused of murder in a Waikiki shooting says he displayed his credentials and identified himself as a law enforcement officer to stop a hostile situation from escalating.

Christopher Deedy testified Tuesday, one month into his trial in the killing of Kollin Elderts.

Deedy says Elderts was bothering a customer with hostile language. He says Elderts threatened Deedy, calling him haole — the Hawaiian word for white person — in a derogatory way.

Prosecutors argue Deedy was intoxicated and inexperienced.

Deedy says he only drank about four beers that night.

Deedy, from Arlington, Va., was out bar-hopping with friends. He was in Honolulu to help provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Elderts died of a single gunshot wound to the chest during a fight with Deedy.

Deedy, 29, began by describing his training, saying he started working for the State Department in June 2009. He was in Honolulu to help provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

When asked by his attorney Brook Hart whether he carries a weapon at all times, Deedy said: “I personally choose to.”

Deedy’s defense lawyers contend that he was acting in self-defense and identified himself as a law enforcement officer during the deadly altercation in the early morning hours at the restaurant.

“Your weapon is a deadly weapon,” Deedy said. “It’s a great responsibility.”

Prosecutors have argued the shooting was caused by intoxication and Deedy’s inexperience. Deedy, from Arlington, Va., was out bar-hopping with friends.

Deedy said he drank “roughly four beers, maybe less,” from about 8:45 p.m. to 2:15 a.m., after flying from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu. He said four is his limit when he’s armed. “I always try to drink responsibly…to keep myself from being under the influence.”

Elderts died of a single gunshot wound to the chest during a fight with Deedy.

“Given any level of force used against you, there’s no perfect or exact response necessary,” Deedy said of his training. “We’re trained to maintain a tactical advantage.”

Witnesses have testified that Deedy started the fight by kicking Elderts. The defense claims he was protecting a customer from being bullied by Elderts.

“An officer is not required to receive the attack before he uses any defensive maneuver,” Deedy said, describing how agents are trained to assess “pre-assault indicators” including body language.

Deedy often looked at jurors as he explained aspects of his training and gave information about his personal life, including that he grew up in Worcester, Mass., spent time in Japan and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a degree in economics. He got married in February 2011, months before the deadly encounter on Nov. 5, 2011.

He seemed more relaxed after a lunch break, when he testified about what happened before he arrived at the McDonald’s, even at one point joking about being excited to be able to buy a burger at the airport before his early morning flight and about hearing bad karaoke at a Chinatown bar.

Deedy is expected to continue testifying in the afternoon about what happened at the McDonald’s.

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Kelleher can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jenhapa

 

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