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Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Slain woman’s grandson
ruled fit to stand trial

Star-Bulletin Staff


A 28-year-old man charged with killing his grandmother at their McCully apartment last July has been found fit to stand trial.

Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall yesterday found Denny Usui mentally competent, based on findings by a court-appointed panel of three doctors.

His trial on a second-degree murder charge was set for the week of March 27.

"We're exploring all options at this point," his attorney, deputy public defender Todd Eddins, said after yesterday's hearing.

The medical examiner's office determined that Joyce M. Usui, 78, died of asphyxia due to suffocation or strangulation. Her body was found by police, who went to the Iolani Court Plaza to investigate a 911 call.

Denny Usui initially gave officers conflicting statements about his grandmother's whereabouts, but later said she was in her bedroom. Officers found her lifeless body neatly covered with a blanket in her shower.

A mental examination was ordered by the defense after it was disclosed that Usui had a history of schizophrenia dating back to the early 1990s and had been seeing a doctor.

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