Escapee married former hospital worker, allegedly threatened to ‘blow away the staff’

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.


Randall Saito married a woman who had worked at the Hawaii State Hospital in 1990.

That’s one of the things we learned while digging through the KHON2 archives and court documents to learn more about Saito’s past.

In July 1979, Sandra Yamashiro was found shot and stabbed to death in her parked car at Ala Moana Center.

Police believed she was chosen at random, and initially had no suspect. But four months later, Saito’s ex-girlfriend turned him in.

Related Coverage: Police confirm Hawaii State Hospital escapee flew to Maui, then to San Jose

Two years later, in 1981, Saito was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity. Doctors said he was a necrophiliac.

His own attorney said Saito needs to be confined to a psychiatric hospital.

“I think Randall Saito will be in the state mental hospital, or whatever facility, for a long, long time, and by long, long time I’m referring to long after my death,” Saito’s attorney, David Schutter, said in 1981.

But time passed, and in 1990, Saito got married on the grounds of the Hawaii State Hospital to a woman who had worked at there as a patient advocate.

According to court records, that marriage lasted 10 years.

In 1993, Saito appeared in court, asking a Circuit Court judge to rule that he was no longer mentally ill or dangerous.

“Based on my psychological evaluation of Mr. Saito that the report which I wrote was based on, it was not my opinion at the time that he represented an imminent danger to himself or others,” defense psychologist Dr. Marvin Acklin said in 1993.

But other mental health experts testified otherwise.

Related Coverage: From KHON2’s archives: Randall Saito requests conditional release

An FBI criminal behavior expert said Saito was extremely dangerous, going as far as saying he was one of the most dangerous men they’d ever seen. It was in part based on Saito’s violent threats.

“He was going to go to California when he got released, buy a gun, return to Hawaii, and blow away the staff,” FBI criminal behavior expert Alan Brantley said in 1993.

“Randall Saito is a very disturbed, mentally ill individual, number one. Number two, 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,” deputy prosecutor Jeff Albert said in 1993.

Over the years, Saito filed numerous motions requesting unescorted off-grounds passes, all of which were denied.

According to court records, in his most recent request in 2015, two of the three doctors who evaluated Saito found him mentally unfit.

The report said “assessments in the past have shown problems with lack of empathy, lack of remorse, and failure to accept responsibility,” and that Saito “continues to be superficial in his relationships with others and manipulative.”

The doctors assessed Saito in 2015 as a moderate risk of danger to the community unless under strict supervision.

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