Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update: The Murder of Kollin K. Elderts in Honolulu: Thoughts and Analysis

Having devoted a career as a special agent at the US Department of State, I consider myself more than qualified to offer some thoughts on the murder of Kollin K. Elderts, 23, by US Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) special agent (S/A) Christopher W. Deedy, 27 in Honolulu on Saturday (November 5).

Although I strongly disagree with persons who have been charged with serious felonies to be tried in the court of public opinion, there are a number of issues in this case that concern me.

As a follow-up to my earlier posting on Deedy's shooting death of Elderts, what makes this case so perplexing is the lack of news coverage on it since it occurred on November 5. Hence, my comments.

Unfortunately, my observations raise far more questions than they address.

Why was Deedy in Honolulu? What we do know is the S/A Deedy was sent to Honolulu to support DS' mission in protecting visiting foreign dignitaries to the US who would be participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference which began on Tuesday (November 8).

Considering that dignitary protection is one of DS' primary responsibilities, it seems strange that the State Department would not acknowledge that, although bureaucratically I understand why statements are not made concerning on-going investigations.

When Did S/A Deedy Arrive in Honolulu? Considering that Deedy was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony by Honolulu police on November 5, we know that he was in Honolulu on that date.

Was S/A On-Duty at the Time He Shot Elderts? No, considering that he was reportedly intoxicated, according to witnesses at the scene.

Was Elderts armed with a weapon? According to the Elderts family attorney, Michael Green, Elderts was not armed. Although police found a knife at the scene, it has not been connected to a specific owner.

Was Deedy armed with a firearm? Yes. From all indications he was carrying his DS-issued service weapon, even though according to witnesses he was visibly intoxicated. A prudent agent who knew he would be drinking while off duty, who did NOT have full police powers, would have locked the weapon in his car or secured it in a hotel safe deposit box.

Why was a DS agent assigned to Honolulu to support the protection of dignitaries at APEC intoxicated at 0300 hours in the morning? Unfortunately, there is no reasonable explanation to this question, particularly in light of the fact that he was carrying his service weapon while intoxicated.

What is known about Deedy? According to his LinkedIn account, Deedy is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans who worked as an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics before joining the State Department in June 2009. From this information, it appears that Deedy was not an experienced agent and had no previous law enforcement experience.

Has Deedy been charged with a crime? Yes, reportedly he was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Yet, he was released on $250,000 bail with no apparent restriction to remain in Honolulu.

Although DS agents are issued Diplomatic passports, they are not accredited diplomats when assigned domestically.

It is not normal for those charged with murder to be released on bail, particularly when they have the resources to flee the jurisdiction. One can only assume that he was released on bail because he was a federal agent.

What were the details of the altercation between Deedy and Elderts? According to press reports, after leaving a local bar, Elderts ended up in the Waikiki McDonald's where they were joking around with workers in the restaurant when Deedy and three others walked into the restaurant. From all indications, an altercation commenced when Deedy "karate-kicked" Elderts in the chest, knocking him down, resulting in Elderts hitting Deedy. The two then began struggling with each other when Deedy fired three shots, one of which hit Elderts in the chest.

Were either Deedy or Elderts intoxicated? This question is problematic. Although the medical examiner's office reported that Elderts blood-alcohol level was 0.12%, it is unknown whether Honolulu police conducted a breathalyzer test on Deedy before he was released on bail. If it was not conducted, it should have been. If it wasn't, that no doubt will benefit the defense in Deedy's trial.

Other Developments? Reportedly, the Edlerts family attorney, Michael Green, (mentioned above) is planning to file a civil lawsuit against both Deedy and the US Government.

Deedy is scheduled to appear in court in Honolulu on November 17. Following that proceeding, our readers will be updated on the staus of this case.

All and all, Deedy's behavior does not reflect well on the US Department of State. Yet, the Department is fully cooperating with Hawaiian law enforcement in the investigation.

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