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Monday, June 12, 2000



Insane, or
in control?

Uyesugi's mental state
key to outcome
of trial

Bullet What the experts say
Bullet Focus now on jury
Bullet Insane, or in control?
Bullet Day began with bullets

By Suzanne Tswei


Mental health experts who testified in Byran Uyesugi's trial have differing views on his mental state at the time of the Xerox shootings.

Xerox Trial Which experts the jury believes is at the heart of the murder trial of the former copier repairman.

"This is not the case where the defense is disputing who did it. The whole case is about his state of mind at the time he pulled the trigger," said Virginia Hench, an associate professor who specializes in criminal law at the William S. Richardson School of Law.

"It seems to me the attorneys on both sides are doing a good job. Both sides have had very highly regarded experts ... and the expert testimony goes to the central issue of the case," Hench said.

Simply having mental disorders isn't enough to satisfy the legal definition of insanity. The defense needs to prove Uyesugi "really didn't know what he was doing (was wrong,) and therefore cannot be held accountable," Hench said.


By Ronen Zilberman, Associated Press
Isle forensic psychiatrist Robert Marvit says
Uyesugi's delusional disorder made him
legally insane during the killings.

By Ronen Zilberman, Associated Press
Forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz of California says
Uyesugi lacks ability to appreciate the
wrongfulness of his actions.


By Ronen Zilberman, Associated Press
Local psychologist Harold Hall shows how Uyesugi
relayed how he tried to fix a jammed gun
during the shootings.

By Ronen Zilberman, Associated Press
Psychiatrist Michael Welner of New York uses a
building plan to say Uyesugi was in
control of his actions.

During the three-week trial, jurors heard from 11 psychiatrists and psychologists giving their opinion on the question of insanity, which under Hawaii's law is defined as inability to distinguish right from wrong and control one's actions according to the law.

The experts agreed Uyesugi suffered from mental illness, ranging from delusion disorder to schizophrenia. However, they differed over whether Uyesugi was legally insane.

The testimony began with three mental-health professionals who had evaluated Uyesugi in 1993 and 1994 after he kicked an elevator panel and threatened co-workers. Denis Mee-Lee, director of the psychiatric program at Castle Hospital, Honolulu psychologist Marvin Acklin and Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist Marvin Mathews all concluded Uyesugi suffered from a mental disorder and needed treatment but did not warrant hospitalization.

A court-appointed panel of three Honolulu experts also testified that Uyesugi suffered from delusions or schizophrenia but was fit to stand trial. Psychologists Thomas Cunningham and James Green and psychiatrist Leonard Jacobs all characterized Uyesugi as having false and unshakable beliefs about co-workers conspiring against him. But they said Uyesugi planned and carried out the shootings, and was not legally insane.

Experts hired by the defense included prominent mainland psychiatrist Park Dietz, who appears regularly on CNN and Court TV. He has testified in well-publicized trials, such as those of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, the Unabomber, the Menendez brothers and John Hinckley.

Here is a collection of testimony by experts hired by the prosecution and defense:

What the experts say:

Prosecution experts:

Harold Hall, Big Island psychologist:

Bullet Uyesugi was not insane but suffered from delusion disorder.

Bullet Uyesugi had a "formidable" amount of self-control and mental capacity to make choices before, during and after the shootings. His comments about his victims and lack of remorse showed his "gross insensitivity" toward his victims.

Michael Welner, New York psychiatrist:

Bullet Uyesugi was not insane but suffered from schizophrenia. His delusions were limited to Jason Balatico, whom he believed to be an FBI agent.

Bullet Uyesugi "knew what he was doing was wrong, and he simply did not care." Uyesugi "wanted to have the last word" because he didn't want his colleagues to feel good about him getting fired, which he believed was about to happen.

Defense experts:

Park Dietz, California psychiatrist:

Bullet Uyesugi was insane and suffered from delusion disorder.

Bullet "He had slain seven innocent, fine, good, hard-working family men and has no concept that this is a terrible thing he's done."

Daryl Matthews, Honolulu psychiatrist:

Bullet Uyesugi was insane and suffered from delusion disorder.

Bullet Uyesugi "could not appreciate that what he did to his victims was wrong because he could not adequately appreciate them as people."

Robert Marvit, Honolulu psychiatrist:

Bullet Uyesugi was insane and suffering from delusion disorder.

Bullet Uyesugi also was suffering from from extreme emotion or mental distress, a factor that allows for the murder charges to be reduced to manslaughter.

Bullet Uyesugi lacks remorse "to this day" and fails to understand that the violence was inappropriate.

Xerox killings

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