The man who was able to leave the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, board a charter flight to Maui and then a commercial flight to San Jose, Calif. told a California judge on Friday that he doesn't want to go back to Hawaii.
"I really don't want to go back to Hawaii," said Russell Saito at his court appearance.
The judge appointed Saito a public defender. The hearing was postponed until Nov. 27 so the public defender can interview Saito, who was held without bail.
Former Honolulu City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle says that number could be increased to ten years if the state is granted an extended term of imprisonment.
"This guy in the first instance should have been convicted of murder and he should've been given a life sentence, that didn't occur and there are reasons to believe there were influences upon the decision maker who was a judge who decided that Saito should not be given a life term for all intensive purposes, and that is entirely unacceptable," Carlisle said.
The Hawaii Attorney General's office says on Nov. 27, Saito will have the choice to admit his identity and agree to extradition back to Hawaii, or to contest extradition. If the court approves extradition, Saito will be transported back to Hawaii. The exact time and manner of the extradition is still being coordinated between authorities in California and Hawaii.
"On behalf of Governor Ige and myself, I extend my thanks to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, San Joaquin District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar, Assistant District Attorney Ron Freitas, and the entire San Joaquin District Attorney’s office for their quick arrest of Randall Saito and their continuing assistance in working on his extradition back to Hawaii. We respect the process and will work with law enforcement officials in San Joaquin to make sure they have everything they need to ensure Saito's return to Hawaii for prosecution as soon as possible," said Attorney General Doug Chin.
Once he returns to Hawaii, Saito will be held as a pre-trial felon at the Oahu Community Correctional Center unless he posts the $500,000 bail or bond. If he does post the bail, he will be sent back to the Hawaii State Hospital. Either way, he will not be released into the community.
Chin says that "at the time Saito makes his first appearance in court in Hawaii, the State intends to ask the judge to increase bail or have him held without bail."
Saito was acquitted by reason of insanity for the 1979 killing of a woman in a shopping mall parking lot.
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