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Psychologist: Hilo murder defendant is faking mental illness

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:59 a.m. HST, Dec 17, 2013

HILO >> A Big Island man accused of a double-homicide is faking or exaggerating his mental illness in an attempt to be found unfit for trial, a psychologist testified.

Psychologist Tom Cunningham said he believes Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto is "malingering," the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.

Matsumoto is charged in the February shooting deaths of his girlfriend, Rhonda Lynn Alohalani Ahu, 45, and her mother, Elaine Ahu, 74, at their Hilo home on Feb. 11.

"He was angry and was not answering all my questions," Cunningham said of a May 29 jailhouse interview with Matsumoto, whom he described as uncooperative. "He was very cynical about some of the things I was asking about the legal system. He was complaining a lot, saying he was set up. It was just difficult to get through the type of question I would normally ask in this type of examination."

Deputy Public Defender Jeff Ng said Matsumoto has a long history of mental health treatment and "has symptoms consistent with paranoid psychosis."

Cunningham said in spite of that, he still believes Matsumoto is malingering. Hawaii Community Correctional Center staff told Cunningham that Matsumoto was "socializing easy" and "not giving the appearance of being seriously mentally ill," Cunningham said.

While Cunningham and psychiatrist Andrew Bisset find that Matsumoto is fit for trial, psychiatrist Henry Yang has testified previously that Matsumoto suffers from "substance-induced psychotic disorder" that renders him unfit for trial.

Closing arguments in Matsumoto's mental fitness proceedings are scheduled for Jan. 17.

Matsumoto is being held without bail. 

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AhiPoke wrote:
Anyone judged unfit for trial should be confined to a mental institution for the rest of his lfe as he is unfit to live with the rest of society.
on December 17,2013 | 12:24PM
FinzyKontini wrote:
And we get to foot the bill, which is a substantially higher amount than paying for prison. Yay...
on December 17,2013 | 06:36PM
BigdogMD wrote:
Sounds like Dr Yang should be ashamed of himself.
on December 17,2013 | 01:28PM
RichardCory wrote:
Why? For rendering his expert opinion? Maybe you should step up and do the evaluation yourself next time, Dr. Bigdog.
on December 17,2013 | 05:01PM
FinzyKontini wrote:
Well to be fair, he IS an MD...right?
on December 17,2013 | 06:33PM
MillionMonkeys wrote:
Close. He grooms dogs in Maryland.
on December 17,2013 | 09:49PM
Grimbold wrote:
Another example showing that mental health problem people should not be let free to roam the country. Lock them up in the nuthouse.
on December 17,2013 | 03:54PM
copperwire9 wrote:
But how would you get anything done, confined like that?
on December 17,2013 | 09:02PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I wonder where this crack defense attorney obtained his medical license. Neither doctor is agreeing with his diagnosis of PS. Being under the influence of drugs should not be a valid reason to find someone unfit for trial. If he was really mentally ill he would have shot himself too.
on December 17,2013 | 04:04PM
50skane wrote:
He knows that if he gets thrown into Kaneohe Hospital and acquitted because of insanity he can always escape like so many others. Throw him in jail and throw away the key.
on December 17,2013 | 04:46PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Any mental problems due to SUBSTANCE ABUSE should not be used to render a person "unfit for trial" or to allow a person to escape full prosecution for his crimes.
on December 17,2013 | 05:34PM
NoFlippinWay wrote:
Exactly. I thought the same thing when I read Henry Yang's testimony.
on December 17,2013 | 11:15PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Let's face it, lawyers have a reputation of being dishonest.
on December 17,2013 | 05:46PM
If he can plan something like this and is trying to get away with murder, he should be put in jail for life. He is too dangerous to be put back in society.
on December 17,2013 | 08:49PM
LMO wrote:
Why does the SA say the age of the victims, but not the defendant?
on December 18,2013 | 01:54AM
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