In brief | State briefs 082713


Mistrial for agent accused of murder

HONOLULU — A judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors said they couldn’t unanimously decide whether a federal agent is guilty of murder in the early-morning shooting of a customer at a McDonald’s restaurant in Waikiki.

Hawaii 1st Circuit Judge Karen Ahn polled the jurors after the jury foreman said more time would not resolve the impasse in the trial of State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy. All the jurors, who began deliberating Aug. 15, agreed they could not reach a verdict.

Ahn set a hearing for Friday to determine a date for a new trial, after mentioning possibilities next spring.

Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va., is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kollin Elderts, 23.

Deedy hugged his lawyers after the mistrial was declared. Elderts’ family left without commenting to reporters.

A court bailiff said jurors declined to speak with the media.

Vandals destroy stone marker for ahupuaa

KAILUA, Oahu — Vandals destroyed a stone marker on Oahu’s windward side just weeks after it was dedicated.

The stones mark the traditional boundary between the ahupuaa — traditional mountain to ocean land divisions — of Kaneohe and Kailua.

Mahealani Cypher of the Koolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club said the stone marker is meant to educate people about ahupuaa and people’s kuleana, or responsibility, to take care of the area in the ahupuaa.

The stones were vandalized between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Hawaii News Now reported.

Community complains about N. Shore traffic

HONOLULU — Community members are getting fed-up with gridlock on Oahu’s North Shore caused by crowds marveling at sea turtles on a beach.

Hundreds of thousands of people each year flock to Laniakea Beach to watch sea turtles that swim ashore. Traffic slows to a crawl as pedestrians dart across the highway.

The state Department of Transportation is considering blocking off parking at Laniakea, but community members say restricting beach access is not a good solution, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

American Samoa considers corporate tax replacement

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — American Samoa is considering phasing out its corporate tax and changing to a gross receipts tax in an effort to make the territory less dependent on federal funding.

The territory’s Treasury Department is proposing a 5 percent tax on gross receipts for all businesses, including nonprofits except religious groups. The tax could collect up to $40 million annually, the department says.

Gross receipts tax is similar to sales tax, except it’s levied against businesses rather than consumers directly.

American Samoa Treasurer Falemao “Phil” Pili said if the tax is approved, the corporate tax would be initially reduced by 30 percent and eventually eliminated within three years.

Guam police arrest son of homicide victim

HAGATNA, Guam — The son of a Guam woman found dead in her home earlier this month is under arrest.

Guam police say Allan Aloan Agababa was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder and family violence. He’s the son of Shelly June Bernstein, who was found shot and dead in her home on Aug. 13.

The 55-year-old single mother of two worked as a United Airlines flight attendant.

By wire sources

Pacific Daily News reports 26-year-old Agababa is the eldest of her two sons.

He couldn’t be reached for comment and it’s unclear if he has an attorney.

By wire sources