Man who set fire to Ala Wai apartment granted conditional release


A 30-year-old man who set fire to his own apartment last September after hearing voices has been granted conditional release to the state.

Dustin Saluda was charged with arson after setting fire to the 18th floor unit that he shared with two other men at the Ala Wai Plaza near University Avenue.

Saluda told police voices told him to do it. Police found him hiding with knives and said he planned to attack anyone who tried to stop the fire.

A jury acquitted the former U.S. Army soldier of all charges because he was mentally unstable.

Doctors that make up his treatment team believe he is a good candidate for conditional release to the state-operated specialized residential program in Kaneohe.

“We unanimously agree that conditional release can be granted without danger to Dustin Saluda himself or the personal property of others,” said deputy public defender Edward Harada.

The prosecutor’s office argued against it, saying “the concerning part about this is he only showed signs of mental illness only days prior,” said Scott Spallina “The state’s concerned, your Honor, that if left out in the community, these warning signs… will not be seen adequately enough.”

Saluda was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder.

He’ll be in a highly structured and monitored program and will also receive mental health services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The court will review his progress in a month.

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