Thursday, November 26, 2015         

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Man charged in rape deemed unfit for trial

By Nelson Daranciang


A state judge put on hold yesterday a trial of a man accused of beating and raping a Mililani restaurant worker after a panel of mental health experts said he is mentally unfit to stand trial.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins sent defendant Joseph Navas, 45, to the Hawaii State Hospital for treatment. Another review will be conducted to determine whether Navas will stand trial on charges of kidnapping, robbery, burglary and multiple counts of first- and second-degree sexual assault.

Navas has been declared unfit for trial previously. In 2008 he was acquitted by reason of insanity on another burglary charge and committed to the State Hospital, but was released to a group home less than two weeks after a judge signed the committal order, state court records show. The reason for his release was not disclosed.

Circuit Judge Michael Wilson acquitted Navas and civilly committed him to the state hospital at a Nov. 26, 2008, court hearing.

Wilson made his finding based on the reports of three court-appointed mental health experts who said Navas was unlikely to ever be able to assist a lawyer in defending himself against the burglary charge because of his mental disability. The experts -- who also evaluated Navas in his latest case -- said Navas presents a risk of harm to himself and others if he is released.

Wilson signed the order acquitting and committing Navas on Feb. 10, 2009, and signed an amended order on Feb. 25 because the original order cited the wrong statute.

Meanwhile, state officials released Navas from the hospital on Feb. 23, 2009.

In the latest case, Navas is accused of assaulting a 47-year-old woman in a Mililani restaurant on May 7.

Police said Navas entered the restaurant through an unlocked door after the restaurant had closed for business, grabbed the woman, who was alone, and carried her to the back storage area, where he restrained and sexually assaulted her.

The woman told police Navas slapped her so hard the blow knocked out a tooth. She said Navas removed her clothes, gagged her with a towel and repeatedly raped her.

After two hours the woman escaped and ran for help.

Police found Navas in the restaurant with two plastic bags he had filled with restaurant merchandise. He was wearing only a suit jacket and identified himself as Roger Moore 007, Bruce Lee, former Gov. George Ariyoshi and other famous people.

Navas told one of the mental health examiners that he went to the restaurant to buy it.

The examiners said Navas suffers from schizophrenia, alcohol and drug dependency, delusions, paranoia and auditory and visual hallucinations. They said Navas rambles on unintelligibly and exhibits bizarre body movements.

One examiner said Navas has been abusing marijuana and alcohol since he was 13 years old and has been in and out of the State Hospital since he was 15.

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