Murder suspect deemed mentally unfit to be tried
The case against a Waianae man accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend to death with a hammer after his gun didn't work has been suspended.
Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall suspended all proceedings relating to the prosecution of Clayton Higa, 40, after finding that he was not fit to proceed to trial.
Deputy Public Defender Edward Aquino asked the court to make the finding based on the conclusions of two out of three court-appointed doctors who examined Higa to determine whether he understood the charges against him and can assist in his defense.
The doctors said that while Higa understands the charge against him, he has problems with cognitive reasoning, behavior and insight, as well as poor judgment.
The state agreed.
According to police, Higa had argued with his girlfriend, Shantel Figueroa, before he attacked her, then stabbed himself in February 2006.
At the hospital, he admitted that he had tried to kill himself, saying, "I don't want to go to jail."
While the doctors were not asked to review Higa's state of mind at the time of the killing, the reports submitted to the court indicate that he apparently had been feeling helpless for months because of his girlfriend's alleged infidelity.
According to the report, Higa said he was upset with his girlfriend because she apparently was "going out to the clubs" and he suspected she was cheating on him at least once a month.
He also was concerned that she was only seeing him "for money."
Higa owned a pig farm in Waianae, taking care of as many as 400 pigs. He had been seeing his girlfriend for about two years but their relationship was described as tumultuous.
Crandall ordered that Higa be transferred from the Oahu Community Correctional Center to the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe for evaluation. A review hearing was set for Sept. 17.