Murder case gets
insanity acquittal

A sportswriter died after he
was pushed into the Ala Wai


Cline Kahue: The defendant has a history of mental problems that started in 1975

A Waikiki man who pushed a former Star-Bulletin freelance sportswriter to his death was acquitted by reason of insanity by a Circuit Court judge yesterday.

Cline Kahue, 50, suffers from schizophrenia and was in a "decompensated psychotic state" when he pushed 71-year-old Jack Wyatt into the Ala Wai Canal, Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario ruled, based on reports administered by a medical panel.

Del Rosario found Kahue not guilty in the jury-waived murder trial after he reviewed evidence that included medical and police reports. He determined that Kahue was not criminally responsible for his conduct due to his mental illness.

Kahue had faced life in prison with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder. The ruling will allow him to remain at the Hawaii State Hospital, where he is receiving treatment.

Del Rosario said Kahue will not be eligible for conditional release at this time. "He presently presents a risk of injury to himself and to others as a result of his mental condition," he said.

At the end of the hearing, Kahue, who was handcuffed, waved to his brother and a hospital staff member in the courtroom and thanked them for coming.

On June 18, 2002, Kahue pushed Wyatt into the Ala Wai, where he struck his head on a rock and drowned. Kahue also assaulted two women that day.

Five days before the offenses occurred, Kahue was hospitalized at the Queen's Medical Center after experiencing psychiatric problems. Records also indicated he had not taken his medication for his mental illness, Del Rosario said. Kahue voluntarily left the hospital on June 16.

Del Rosario noted that Kahue, a Punahou graduate with a college degree, had a lengthy history of mental problems that started in 1975. Kahue began experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia at age 25, and had been hospitalized at least 14 times.

Two of three medical panelists said Kahue was substantially impaired when the offenses occurred.

"He was suffering from a disorder that left him not penally responsible," Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara said. "This was a proper decision. I didn't like it. It's a no-win situation for the victim's family as well as the defendant's family."

Uehara said he plans to oppose any kind of conditional release for Kahue.

"I think he belongs in the Hawaii State Hospital, and I think he should be there for the rest of his life," he said.

Deputy Public Defender Walter Rodby said Kahue and his family wanted to express their sympathies to all the victims. "Mr. Kahue is being treated and he understands what's going on today," he said. "He asks for their forgiveness. He simply feels really bad about what happened."

One of Wyatt's four daughters shared some of those sentiments.

"He definitely needs some help and I hope that the State Hospital can help him get better," Jonnel Wyatt said. "The way that my father was, I'm sure he has forgiven him for what happened. ... We need to be able to forgive him as well."

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