comscore Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito deemed fit to stand trial | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito deemed fit to stand trial

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Acquitted murderer Randall Saito appeared in court, today, to see if he is mentally competent to stand trial for escape. His attorney is Michael Green was at his side. A panel of examiners found Saito mentally fit to proceed to trial after escaping from the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe and flying to California.

A state judge today found Randall Saito fit to stand trial for escape.

State Circuit Judge Colette Garibaldi set a trial date in June and confirmed Saito’s cash-only bail at $100,000.

Saito is charged with escaping from the Hawaii State Hospital where he had been in custody since being acquitted of murder by reason of insanity.

Saito’s defense attorney and a state prosecutor agreed with the findings from a panel of examiners during a brief hearing today.

Saito was confined to the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe after he was acquitted by reason of insanity of a woman’s 1979 killing. A judge ordered that he go before a panel of examiners to determine whether he can be held criminally responsible for the escape.

He was captured in Stockton, California, in November, days after walking out of the State Hospital.

Saito’s trial is scheduled for June but defense attorney Michael Green says it’s likely his client will eventually admit to the escape charge.

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A court hearing is scheduled today in Honolulu on whether a man is mentally fit to proceed with trial for escaping from the State Hospital in Kaneohe and flying to California.

Randall Saito was confined to the hospital after he was acquitted by reason of insanity of a woman’s 1979 killing. A judge ordered that he go before a panel of examiners to determine whether he can be criminally responsible for the escape.

Saito was captured in Stockton, California, in November, days after walking out of Hawaii State Hospital. Saito plotted his escape with a banned cellphone, prosecutors have said in court documents.

After walking out of the hospital, he called a taxi that took him to the airport, where he caught a chartered flight to Maui. He used an alias to arrange the flight and paid $1,445 cash for it, prosecutors said. He then took a commercial flight to San Jose, California.

When he was arrested in nearby Stockton three days after his escape, he had more than $6,000 in cash and fake Washington state and Illinois driver’s licenses bearing his photos with different names, prosecutors said. The fake licenses contained convincing-looking holograms that are difficult to reproduce.

Officials are still investigating the escape, including where he got the money and other supplies.

Defense attorney Michael Green said Wednesday that he expects the panel will find that Saito understands the escape charge and is mentally competent to proceed. Saito “will eventually admit to the elopement,” Green said.

While jailed near Stockton after his capture, Saito gave various interviews with reporters, including from The Associated Press. He said he escaped to show that he should be free.

Saito would rather remain in a Honolulu jail where he’s being held on $500,000 instead of return to the hospital, Green said: “He’s happy where he is right now.”

Star-Advertiser reporter Nelson Daranciang contributed to this report.

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