Man who stabbed two hikers at Koko Crater Trail acquitted... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man who stabbed two hikers at Koko Crater Trail acquitted by reason of insanity

Benjamin Davis Benjamin Davis
Nicholas Iwamoto Nicholas Iwamoto
Guy Tanaka Guy Tanaka

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A young man who stabbed two hikers at Koko Crater Trail last year was found not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday.

One of Benjamin Davis' victims provided gripping testimony about his ordeal at the attempted murder trial.

The prosecution and defense agreed to the facts of the case and the findings of three mental health experts who examined Davis. With those stipulations in place, the trial, verdict and sentencing were completed in about an hour.

Still wearing a brace to support his neck one year after a brutal attack, Nicholas Iwamoto says he went to Koko Crater Trail to test his fitness because he wanted to join the Army National Guard.

"I was concerned that my heart might not be 100%," he said. "So I figured, you know, if I can survive the Koko Head hike, then I'm going to enlist."

He barely survived.

He and Guy Tanaka were the victims of unprovoked stabbings at the trail summit last February. Tanaka suffered a stab wound to his back. Iwamoto was stabbed in the head, neck, chest, abdomen and hands, was pushed to the bottom of a ravine, and thought he was going to die there.

"There was a hole in my lung, so when I made noise, the air was forced out of the hole and blood was shooting out," Iwamoto said. "That's when I realized that there's no way I can, you know, I can make myself heard because I'm going to bleed to death."

Eventually, help did arrive.

Benjamin Davis, 20, who's been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was charged with attempted murder. A judge acquitted him, saying the defendant was substantially-impaired, couldn't distinguish between right and wrong and, therefore, can not be held criminally responsible.

"It is our sincere hope that you will find it in your heart, your hearts, to forgive Ben," Henry Alalamua, Davis' uncle, said to the victims.

"My name is Benjamin Davis, and I only speak on behalf of my family and friends when I say how truly sorry I am," the defendant said.

Tanaka, a California resident, accepted Davis' apology. Not so simple for Iwamoto, who broke down in tears for the first time in more than a year.

"You ruined my life," the 24-year-old told his attacker.

Davis is expected to be transferred from the Oahu Community Correctional Center to the Hawaii State Hospital.

"I just hope that you continue to make progress, take your meds and continue to get better," Tanaka said.

Davis will remain at that Kaneohe mental health facility until he's no longer considered a danger to himself or the community.

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