'I couldn't believe I actually made it': Hawaii State Hospital escapee speaks out
Island News has obtained a one-on-one interview with Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito.
HONOLULU - Randall Saito's improbable run from the law started in the back of a cab that picked him up at Kaneohe District park, a short walk from the Hawaii State Hospital.
Even at this early stage, Saito was surprised his getaway was working.
"Oh man I couldn't believe I actually made it. It was surreal," Saito said.
He directed the cabbie to take him to Lagoon Drive, where he would catch one of two planes that would eventually get him to California.
"It wasn't like I planned on San Jose. I was just trying to find the cheapest tickets so I get to Cali and get a head start. This was all about buying myself time in the community, to prove that I could be in the community without doing anything wrong," Saito said.
He says he had to get out and claims conditions at the state hospital were inhumane and he couldn't handle staying there any longer.
"I left because I told my Mom on the phone, I called her from the jail and I thought I haven't felt like a human being since the last three or four days. Even being arrested, you feel like more of a human being than just sitting in that hospital... And you can ask some of the staff. Ask some of the old-timers over there. They'll tell you it's the worst they've ever seen in 37 years. It's bad man.," Saito said.
Saito was committed to the state hospital in 1981, after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of Sandra Yamashiro.
Her body was found brutally shot and stabbed at Ala Moana Center.
"I regret it. I regret the murder. Let's just make that clear. I do have remorse for it, I am absolutely contrite. No one else can be more contrite than I. It's because no one else was more responsible but I can't change it. What do they want me to do? I can't turn back time and I'm not going to offer anyone romanticism by saying oh I wish I could change my places with the victim. It's romanticism. It's not gonna happen," Saito said.
He says at the time of the murder, he was dealing with addiction.
"I was in bad shape I was paranoid. I was doing PCP, I was doing speed, I was doing LSD. Everything I could get my hands on. And I was drinking on top of that," Saito said.
He went on to mention he's not the monster doctors paint him out to be. Saying he's a typical guy who's even been married twice during his stay at the hospital.
His arrest Thursday morning shocked residents who couldn't believe a killer was on the loose in their backyard.
"I wanna send a message to the people of Stockton, that they had nothing to fear from me really, really ever," Saito said.
Here's part of the interview transcript:
Saito: "Everyone wants to know how I did it to get here. I know they want to know how I did it and what I did it with bogus IDs and stuff like that. You know everything I needed to do, I had some cash stashed and you know what I am saying?"
Reporter: "How much cash did you have?"
Saito: "Probably about $6,000."
Reporter: "$6,000 and how did you get the IDs?"
Saito: "I can’t tell you that, I’m sorry."