Man who stabbed 2 hikers allowed to attend college
Crews with the hikers back in February 2009.
Windward Community College
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii State Hospital patient who avoided prison for stabbing two people at Koko Crater because he was legally insane is now a college student. Benjamin Davis has been taking classes at Windward Community College for a few months while under supervision. A judge's ruling on Tuesday will give him a taste of freedom.
Davis appeared in court on July 22 asking for permission to take two English classes unsupervised. Judge Richard Perkins just granted the request.
One of Davis' victims, Nicholas Iwamoto, shared his frustration by phone while on a mainland trip. In 2009, he was on the Koko Crater trail when Davis randomly attacked him and another hiker. Iwamoto was stabbed 18 times. He also suffered injuries like a broken neck and fractured skull from a fall to the bottom of a ravine.
"Pretty much any time I open my mouth it hurts because I was stabbed in the left temple three times. When I take a deep breath, it hurts because both my lungs collapsed," said Iwamoto by phone from Boise, Idaho.
Iwamoto hasn't been able to work, and he can't afford to go back to school to pursue his new dream of becoming a history teacher. He is upset that Davis will be allowed to leave the Hawaii State Hospital twice a week for nearly fours a day to attend classes at WCC unsupervised.
"Knowing that he's free, getting an education while I can't even afford an education makes me sick," Iwamoto said.
Davis, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. Last month, his attorney told the judge that Davis has been responding well to medication.
"I don't care what medications he's taking. If he snaps, who gets responsibility for that?" questioned Iwamoto.
There are several conditions including specific sign-out and sign-in times as well as random searches and drug tests. His treatment team can also end the unsupervised release at any time.
"What's wrong with taking online classes behind bars for the rest of his life? If he's medicated and he's mentally healthy, then why not let justice prevail?" wondered Iwamoto.
According to the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, Davis has been attending classes at WCC under supervision for a few months now. School officials said they didn't know about the state hospital patient. The fall semester starts on August 20.
Windward Community College Chancellor Doug Dykstra released the following statement:
"Windward CC takes the safety and security of its student body very seriously and our campus operates in accord with the requirements of the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act in all respects.
In this regard the college can assure the public and its student body that we are taking responsibilities seriously to guarantee the safety of all students as well as the privacy of all registered students.
If there are public concerns about the status of a particular student we can only respond to a direct question about the name of the student and the student's registration status. We can give no other information. We at Windward CC must address many of the unknowns of this situation recently discovered, and I will be meeting with key staff members to determine appropriate steps to take to assure the balance between the safety of our students, a paramount consideration, as well as the rights of students."
"I feel I was failed by the justice system and the people of Hawaii were failed and now we have a ticking time bomb," said Iwamoto.
Iwamoto said he is grateful for the outpouring of support from strangers since the attack.