Saito arrives in Hawaii to face charges after state hospital escape

Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito returned to Hawaii Wednesday, Jan. 10, on a non-commercial flight.

U.S. Marshals confirmed he landed at around 2:40 p.m. where he was turned over to investigators from the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office for further processing.

“Why didn’t you want to come back?” KHON2 asked.

“Hawaii State Hospital is not safe place to be,” he replied as authorities escorted him into the Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division’s airport facility. “I’d rather be free, rather than be in the state hospital.”

He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 16.

If Saito is convicted and sent to prison, Attorney General Doug Chin says Saito would then be sent back to the state hospital after serving his time.

Saito made national headlines in November after walking away from the state hospital. He took a charter flight to Maui, then boarded a Hawaiian Airlines flight to the mainland.

By the time an alert was sent out, Saito was already in California.

Saito will be sent to Oahu Community Correctional Center where he will remain in custody as he waits to go on trial for escape. His bail is set at $500,000.

Chin says he’s going to ask a judge to set the bail even higher.

“We want him to be held in custody so that he can stand trial on the escape charges and be held responsible for escaping from the facility. I think that’s what the community would expect,” Chin said.

Chin says because of the notoriety of this case, the state decided to bring Saito back on a non-commercial flight.

“Typically when people are extradited back to Hawaii, they’re actually brought back on commercial flights. They’re guarded and they’re in custody but in this situation, we thought it was best to not have any spectacle and bring him back on a non-commercial flight,” Chin said.

Saito would then remain in custody at OCCC, which Chin says is capable of handling inmates with mental problems. Saito will then be put on trial for escape, which has a maximum penalty of five years.

If Saito is convicted of escape and is sent to prison, Chin says that doesn’t mean that Saito will walk away scot-free after serving his time. He will be sent back to Hawaii State Hospital.

“He would still be under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii State Hospital, who would then have the ability to decide what do they want to do with him. Do they want to keep holding on to him?” Chin said.

Chin says doctors would then have to decide if the man who admitted shooting and stabbing a woman to death nearly 40 years ago should remain in the state hospital.

“The state hospital has to make two decisions. They’re not just deciding whether or not he’s no longer suffering from a mental defect. They also have to decide that he’s not a danger to the community or to other people, so we have those two safeguards,” he said.

As far as the escape charge, Chin says the idea is to prove that Saito did have the mental capacity to know that what he did was wrong, so he should be convicted of that crime.

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