Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Feds want accused
killer of ranger
tested for sanity

By Debra Barayuga


Federal prosecutors are asking that a drifter accused of killing a Big Island park ranger be examined to determine whether he was sane at the time and if he is mentally competent to stand trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick made the request yesterday in U.S. District Court based on a confidential pretrial report on Eugene F. Boyce III.

U.S. Magistrate Francis I. Yamashita continued Boyce's detention hearing until Thursday to give him an opportunity to rule on the request.

If Yamashita grants the motion, the case cannot go forward until Boyce is found fit to proceed. And until that time, Yamashita said he cannot rule on a request by Boyce to replace his lawyer, federal deputy public defender Peter Wolff.

Boyce is being held in Hawaii with no bail. If the motion to have him examined is granted, he would be taken to a prison in Springfield, Mo., where he can be continually monitored, Butrick said. He said the exams could take two to three months.

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury indicted Boyce yesterday for first-degree murder for killing park ranger Steve Makuakane-Jarrell "with premeditation and malice aforethought."

The 15-year national park veteran was investigating a vicious dog complaint at the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park when he was shot. Boyce told the FBI that he struggled with Makuakane-Jarrell over the ranger's gun, resulting in the ranger shooting himself.

If convicted, Boyce faces life in prison without parole, or death.

U.S. Attorney Steve Alm said no decision has been made on whether the death penalty would be sought. That would be up to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. Boyce, a native of California, is wanted by authorities in that state and in South Dakota, Florida and Washington, prosecutors said. He has two felony convictions for resisting law enforcement officers.

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