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Surfer accused in car attack found fit for trial

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  • Jamm Aquino /
    Jill Hansen

Three court-appointed mental health examiners say Jill Hansen, a self-described professional surfer, was suffering from a mental disease, disorder or defect when she allegedly struck a 73-year-old woman with her car and attempted to steal the woman’s car.

Hansen’s lawyer, Victor Bakke, said the examiners, however, also say that Hansen, 31, is mentally fit to stand trial for attempted murder, unauthorized entry into and attempted unauthorized control of a motor vehicle, and for an unrelated alleged assault on another surfer.

Based on the examiners’ reports, state Circuit Judge Richard Perkins on Thursday found Hansen fit to stand trial and scheduled it for July. He did not rule on whether she is legally responsible for her actions, leaving that up to a jury or, if Hansen waives her right to a trial by jury, to another judge.

Until Thursday, Hansen was in custody at the Hawaii State Hospital, where Perkins had earlier authorized the state health director to involuntarily medicate Hansen to get her mentally fit to stand trial.

Perkins’ finding of mental fitness moves Hansen back into the custody of the state Department of Public Safety. Hansen’s original bail was $1 million.

In June last year, another judge granted the state’s request to deny her the opportunity for release on bail, claiming that she poses a danger to the community. At that hearing, Hansen walked into court and told the judge that after thinking about it, she wanted to plead guilty to everything. When Bakke told the judge that the state’s request is unnecessary because Hansen doesn’t have $1 million, Hansen interrupted him and told the judge her friends were collecting the money to post her bail.

Honolulu police said Hansen followed the 73-year-old woman into a secured Waikiki apartment building parking garage on May 14, 2014, and struck the woman with a car. While the woman was partially wedged under another vehicle, police said Hansen attempted but was unable to run over the elderly woman two more times.

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