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Police and Fire


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POSTED: Monday, December 14, 2009

Man accused of shooting ill wife found dead of an apparent hanging

A 71-year-old Kailua man who allegedly shot his terminally ill wife with a flare gun at Castle Medical Center apparently committed suicide yesterday, police said.

Robert Mitsuo Yagi was found in a Kailua residence at about 1 p.m. by family members after he had apparently hanged himself, police said.

; He was facing charges of attempted murder in the shooting of his 71-year-old wife, Leatrice, as she lay in her hospital bed. She remained hospitalized yesterday, a hospital worker confirmed.

Yagi used a flare gun loaded with a 12-gauge shotgun cartridge to shoot his wife, who suffered minor injuries from the pellets, police said.

Yagi was released from police custody Thursday, and his first court appearance was scheduled for tomorrow.

Also on Thursday the hospital banned Yagi from its grounds.

A court affidavit said Yagi might have also intended to kill himself after he shot his wife because he carried a second plastic flare gun loaded with buckshot.

Kailua residents said they were shocked to learn their neighbor was accused of shooting his wife because they had been “;inseparable,”; as a 35-year acquaintance put it.

The shooting rekindled the debate about assisted-suicide legislation in Hawaii.

Scott Foster, spokesman for the Hawaii Death with Dignity Society, said he believes Yagi was trying to end his wife's suffering.

“;When I saw it (on the news), I knew exactly what I was hearing,”; he said.

He said Hawaii came close in 2002 to passing a law to allow assisted suicide. The so-called Death with Dignity bill died when three state senators changed their votes in the wake of intense lobbying by opponents.