Man cleared of charges after being found insane


POSTED: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A state judge acquitted by reason of insanity yesterday a man charged with attempted murder for trying to throw a security guard off the 26th floor of a University Avenue high-rise apartment building last year.

The judge found Joseph Joyce, 44, not guilty of attempted second-degree murder, unauthorized entry into a dwelling and first-degree terroristic threatening.

Circuit Judge Richard Pollack also committed Joyce to the custody of the state health director at the Hawaii State Hospital.

Police said Joyce tried to break into a penthouse apartment Feb. 22, 2008, sprayed a fire extinguisher into the face of a resident, then tried to shove a 63-year-old building security guard through a broken window.

Joyce told three mental health experts ordered by the court to examine him that he thought he was in the Middle East and that the president of Iran lived in the building. He said he went there to kill the Iranian president and to place a red, white and blue T-shirt he was wearing, representing the American flag, on the roof of the building to warn Americans.

Joyce has a long history of mental illness and had been receiving Social Security income for his disability.

He grew up and lived most of his life in San Diego. He said he moved here for the weather.

He was homeless at the time of his arrest for attempted murder.