Saturday, October 30, 2004

Judge plans ruling
on man’s sanity

A suspect in the death of a writer
could not control his actions,
the defense contends

A Circuit Court judge will rule later in the jury-waived murder trial of Cline Kahue, accused of pushing a former Star-Bulletin freelance sportswriter to his death into the Ala Wai Canal over two years ago.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario will review the available evidence, including police and medical reports, much of which was stipulated into the record by the prosecution and the defense.

At issue is whether Kahue, 50, was so substantially impaired by mental illness that he could not determine between right or wrong or control his actions at the time of the offense.

Kahue is charged with second-degree murder in the June 18, 2002, death of Jack Wyatt, 71, who drowned after striking his head on a rock. Kahue is also charged with second- and third-degree assaults on two other women, one of whom was tackled into the Ala Wai.

Two of three psychologists appointed by the courts to determine Kahue's penal responsibility at the time of the offense testified last week that he was so substantially impaired that he could not control his actions. One of the doctors also said Kahue could not differentiate between right and wrong.

Kahue, a Punahou graduate with a college degree, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia that apparently began surfacing at age 25 in 1979.

Deputy public defender Walter Rodby said the defense doesn't dispute the eyewitness accounts of what happened, but argues that Kahue was substantially impaired and should be acquitted by reason of insanity.

If convicted as charged, Kahue faces life with the possibility of parole. If acquitted by reason of insanity, the court must decide whether he poses a danger to the community and if so, could return him to the State Hospital.



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