Man accused of hate crime against neighbor acquitted by reason of insanity

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Waialae Nui man accused of threatening to kill his neighbor because he was Jewish has been acquitted of felony terroristic threatening by reason of insanity.

During a jury-waived trial that concluded Wednesday, three mental health experts who examined Thomas Fiust testified that he was suffering from delusions at the time of the incident and should not be held criminally responsible.

Investigators say the 37-year-old left a message on his neighbor's telephone answering machine, threatening to blow up his house if he and his family didn't move out of the neighborhood.

The defendant was charged with terroristic threatening under Hawaii's hate crimes statute. If convicted, he would have faced an enhanced punishment of 10 years in prison.

But Circuit Judge Richard Perkins ruled that Fiust was mentally impaired and could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct. He then committed the defendant to the Hawaii State Hospital until he is no longer a danger to himself or others.

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