By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU — A prosecutor on Thursday described a federal agent as a “bully with a badge” when he killed a customer at a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant in 2011 during an early-morning altercation following a night of bar-hopping.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa delivered her closing arguments in the murder trial of State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy, who was in Hawaii providing security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit when the killing occurred.
The jury began deliberating the case Thursday afternoon.
Deedy, 29, claims he was acting in self-defense and protecting others from an aggressive Kollin Elderts, 23.
He was off-duty when he ended up at the fast-food eatery because his friend was craving chicken nuggets. That’s where he got into a fight with Elderts, which Deedy claims started because Elderts was harassing a customer. That customer, Michel Perrine, testified he didn’t feel threatened.
No one disputes Deedy shot and killed Elderts, defense attorney Karl Blanke said in his closing argument. But he didn’t murder Elderts, he said.
Deedy’s “intent was to protect life,” Blanke said, who noted that the victim had been drinking heavily and doing drugs. Deedy testified that told Elderts to stop or he would shoot after seeing Elderts kicking Deedy’s friend in the head.
The prosecutor implored jurors to set aside moral judgments about Elderts and Deedy.
The college-educated, clean-cut, articulate agent, “doesn’t look like a murderer,” she said.
“Whether you personally think a law enforcement officer can never make a mistake, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “Whether you think a loud and obnoxious kid deserved what he got, you have to put that aside.”
Deedy, of Arlington, Va., has been on trial since July 8, charged with second-degree murder.
He earlier testified that he fired his gun while Elderts was on top of him and punching him. Futa said Deedy could have just walked away, but instead he inserted himself in a situation that wasn’t any of his business.
She also said Deedy shouldn’t have been drinking that night while carrying his gun.
During Futa’s rebuttal, she suggested Deedy didn’t retreat because he felt disrespected by Elderts, who slapped the agent and tackled him to the ground. “How do you think that sat with a trained agent with the State Department,” she asked.
Blanke asked jurors if they wanted a law enforcement officer who walks away from danger. Futa countered that the public doesn’t want an officer who sees a fistfight and thinks he can shoot someone. She asked: “Is this the kind of law enforcement officer you want around your Honolulu, your Waikiki?”
Jurors must consider whether Deedy “intentionally or knowingly” caused Elderts’ death.