Tuesday, December 7, 1999

Slaying suspect Uyesugi
will have mental exam

By Debra Barayuga


Byran Uyesugi, charged with killing seven Xerox coworkers in the worst multiple slaying in Hawaii's history, will be examined by a panel of three court-appointed experts to determine if he is fit to proceed to trial.

The state requested the examination to avoid any unnecessary delay in Uyesugi's trial, which has been set for May 15. Defense experts did not object to the examination, according to a document signed by Ronald Ching, one of Uyesugi's attorneys. Circuit Judge Michael Town granted the state's motion for the mental examination last Wednesday. It will take place at the Hawaii State Hospital.

Prosecutors will submit a written order to appoint the panel of doctors on Friday, at which time all court proceedings will be suspended until the panel submits its report.

Uyesugi's attorneys have said they are exploring any possible defense, including raising the insanity defense, and the state's motion said it appears from public comments made by the attorneys that his fitness may become an issue in the case.

The defense has retained Dr. Park Dietz, a well-known forensic psychiatrist, as a potential mental health expert, the state said.

The defense attorneys also are seeking medical and hospital records of a 1997 car accident in which Uyesugi struck his head against the windshield of his car, the motion says.

The defense additionally has noted that Uyesugi received psychiatric counseling after a 1993 incident in which he kicked an elevator door at work.

The examination process, which can take up to two months, involves interviewing Uyesugi, conducting tests and reviewing records.

If the court appointed-panel finds Uyesugi is unfit to proceed to trial, court proceedings are suspended until he is found to be fit and can understand the court proceedings, the charges against him and is able to assist his attorneys.

If Uyesugi's attorneys raise insanity as a defense at trial, they have to prove he was legally insane at the time he shot his supervisor and coworkers.

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