POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2010
A state judge has ordered accused killer Tittleman Fauatea transferred to the Hawaii State Hospital for mental health evaluation and treatment after his lawyer said Fauatea has refused to take his medication for the past three to four weeks.
As a result, defense lawyer Dean Young said he cannot communicate with Fauatea to get his assistance in preparing for his upcoming murder trial scheduled for next month.
Fauatea is awaiting trial in the Feb. 27, 2009, fatal stabbing of Waianae High School teacher Asa Yamashita. Police said Yamashita, 43, was sitting on a bench at Ewa Town Center eating saimin when Fauatea stabbed her.
One of Fauatea's previous court-appointed mental health examiners suggested Fauatea may have mistaken Yamashita for a woman who works at the town center and who had rejected his advances.
The prosecutor did not oppose moving Fauatea out of Halawa Correctional Facility for treatment and evaluation for his mental fitness to stand trial. But she suspects Fauatea may be trying to avoid going to trial.
"This may be a delay tactic by the defendant," said Michelle Puu, deputy city prosecutor.
Young has previously told the court Fauatea had not been cooperating with him to prepare for trial, and at least one mental health expert who examined him said Fauatea was doing that on purpose to avoid prosecution.
Fauatea, 26, has been confined in a special holding unit in Halawa rather than at Oahu Community Correctional Center with other pretrial detainees because he has exhibited violent outbursts.