Pathologist in Deedy murder trial rebuts finding of lead investigator, medical examiner

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Aug 02 2013 09:23:11 AM HST
Updated On: Aug 02 2013 11:11:58 AM HST

The defense's first expert witness gives new theories that disagree with previous medical and forensic theories in the Christopher Deedy murder trial.

HONOLULU -

Dr. Jonathan Arden, a forensic pathologist and a medical examiner for 30 years, believes some of the key conclusions by the city's medical examiner and the lead investigator in the trial of federal agent Christopher Deedy are wrong.

Dr. Arden was the first expert witness for the defense.

It was the conclusion by lead investigator Ted Coons and then-medical examiner Kanthi De Alwis  that the second gunshot from Deedy killed Kollin Elderts.

But on Thursday, Dr. Arden challenged that, saying he believes gun powder burns on Elderts' face, the angle of the bullet's path and marks around the chest wound prove it was the third and final shot.

It's a critical point for the defense, believing it supports its argument that special agent Deedy was pinned to the ground, being beaten by Elderts, when the federal agent fired that fatal shot.

"People become hyperactive, violent, sometimes belligerent," said Dr. Arden.

Dr. Arden concluded cocaine and alcohol was not only found simultaneously in Elderts' body, but it was likely at a higher concentration when that fight at a Waikiki McDonald's broke out.

"I remember hearing distinct sounds and volumes, but I don't know that I ever knew what they were talking about," said Deedy's friend Jessica West.

The prosecution asked, "Ever?"  West responded, "Ever."

West did say she saw Deedy showing Elderts something  that looked like a wallet, and Elderts getting upset.  Then, she said she heard something about a gun, before she knew they had to get out.

"I don't think I was telling him to back off.  I was trying to get us all out of this situation," said West. 

The prosecutor asked, "Who do you mean by all of us?"  West said, "I just wanted myself, Adam and Chris to leave."

The prosecution pressed West on why she didn't do more to stop the confrontation from escalating.  Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa also challenged Dr. Alden's findings pointing out, for one, he didn't personally examine the body.

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