From KHON2’s archives: Randall Saito requests conditional release


Editor’s Note: This story originally aired on March 3, 1993.

Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito was arrested early Wednesday morning in San Joaquin, California, hours after the Hawaii Attorney General’s office charged Saito with felony escape and issued a $500,000 bench warrant for his arrest.


A Hawaii State Hospital inmate who brutally murdered a woman at Ala Moana Center nearly 14 years ago wants out.

Randall Saito was in court today for the first of several hearings on whether he’s still dangerous.

The 35-year-old wants a Circuit Court judge to rule that he is no longer mentally ill or dangerous.

In July of 1979, he killed 29-year-old Sandra Yamashiro. Her body, stabbed and shot, was found in her car at Ala Moana Center.

Two years later, Saito was acquitted by reason of insanity. Doctors said he was a sexual sadist and a necrophiliac, a person with a sexual attraction to corpses.

His attorney at the time said Saito should be at the state hospital for decades.

“I think Randall Saito will be in the state mental hospital or whatever facility they assign him for a long, long time, and by long, long time I’m referring to long after my death,” said David Schutter.

More than a decade later, Saito wants out.

A defense psychologist says Saito is no longer dangerous.

“Based on my psychological evaluation of Mr. Saito that the report which I wrote was based on, it was not my opinion at that time that he represented an imminent danger to himself or to others,” said Marvin Acklin.

But other mental health experts are expected to testify very differently.

Prosecutors say Saito is a very dangerous man.

“Randall Saito is a very disturbed, mentally ill individual,” said deputy prosecutor Jeff Albert. “He’s a very dangerous individual with respect to whom all the predictors indicate that if he were to be released, he would kill again.”

Saito’s wife, who had been his patient advocate at the state hospital, sat in the courtroom during today’s hearing.

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