System failed suspect in killing, lawyer says
POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009
The attorney for the man accused of stabbing teacher Asa Yamashita to death last week said he should have been committed to the Hawaii State Hospital last year for further treatment of mental problems.
Based on the reports from a June harassment and August criminal trespassing cases, attorney Dean Young, who is representing Tittleman Fauatea, said, "Sometimes the system is what it is, and the case, there's no logical reason for it."
Fauatea failed to appear in court on Dec. 19, and the criminal trespassing case was dismissed. The Hawaii State Hospital, where Fauatea stayed for at least two months, received a court order to release him. It is unknown when he left the hospital.
"I don't know if there's anyone to blame for it. We do know that we have a person who has a serious mental illness was out and maybe shouldn't have been," Young said.
Fauatea is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Monday before Circuit Judge Derrick Chan on a charge of second-degree murder. He is accused of stabbing Yamashita at the Ewa Town Center in an unprovoked attack.
In the trespassing case, Fauatea was charged for refusing to leave a 7-Eleven store in Kahaluu.
Court-ordered evaluation reports determined Fauatea was probably fit to proceed in a trial last December for a criminal trespassing offense, but a doctor expressed concerns.
In a Dec. 13 letter, the doctor noted that there was some question whether Fauatea would be able to deal with the demands of the trial process as he displayed instances in which "he had lost control and either struck or attempted to strike fellow patients."
Three months earlier, evaluation reports indicated he was unfit to proceed in trial because of his bizarre and psychotic behavior.
In the harassment case, Fauatea walked up to a woman and stared at her chest. He later served six days in jail for the misdemeanor harassment charge.
Wednesday services for slain teacher
Funeral services for Waianae High School teacher Asa Shimabukuro Yamashita will be held Wednesday at the Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Services will start at 7:30 p.m. Casual attire.
Yamashita, 43, of Ewa Beach, was fatally stabbed allegedly by Tittleman Fauatea, 25, at the Ewa Town Center on Friday. She was sitting on a bench eating a bowl of noodles when the stabbing occurred.
Yamashita is survived by husband Bryan; daughters Katherine and Victoria; sisters Jan, Rae and Lee Shimabukuro; and hanai brother Keith Z. Kaneshiro.
Donations to help the Yamashita family may be made to any American Savings Bank branch. Checks can be made out to "Friends of Asa Yamashita."