Man who stabbed mother to remain free
A judge continues the terms of release for Rueben Ortiz, despite his kin's fears
A man who was acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity for stabbing his mother three times in the chest in 2005 was permitted yesterday to remain free on conditional release from Hawaii State Hospital.
Circuit Judge Michael Wilson allowed Rueben Ortiz to remain at the Hale Imua transitional home on the Kaneohe hospital grounds under 24-hour supervision.
Maureen Mench, a psychologist, reported to Wilson that Ortiz has been doing "outstanding" at the home.
Harry Ortiz told the judge his half brother, Rueben, is a "harm to society" and "will always be that way." He said Rueben Ortiz should be supervised for the rest of his life.
The judge declined to grant Rueben Ortiz, 51, a permanent conditional release from the hospital. He said he wanted to see more of a "track record" by Ortiz before granting that request. Wilson allowed him to remain on temporary conditional release and scheduled another hearing for Nov. 26.
In addition to being under supervision, Ortiz must also refrain from contacting any family members.
The unprovoked stabbing of Minnie Torres, 79, at her Kalihi apartment was cited in a 2005 report by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang, who faulted the state for falling behind in efforts to provide services and supervision for the seriously mentally ill in the community.
Ortiz had been acquitted by reason of insanity for a 1995 terroristic threatening case and had been on temporary release at the time of the stabbing. He was charged with attempted murder but received an insanity acquittal and was sent back to the hospital.
The family became alarmed when Ortiz had been spotted on a Kaneohe bus on March 31 after he earlier had been granted temporary conditional release. Harry Ortiz said they were never notified about the decision.
Deputy Public Defender Ed Harada said Rueben Ortiz suffered from mental illness, including schizophrenia, since a hiking accident when he was 16. Ortiz must continue taking medication and will be supervised, Harada said.
After the hearing, Harry Ortiz acknowledged that his brother will be under supervision, but said the family is still afraid.
"We'll always be in fear, wondering if he will run away, if he will stop taking his medication," he said.