HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twenty-six-year-old Nicholas Iwamoto returned to Hawaii for the first time since learning that his attacker was freed to take classes at Windward Community College twice a week.
Iwamoto said he won't let that injustice stop him from healing from the near fatal stabbing that left him with a broken neck and fractured skull.
Iwamoto revisited the Koko Crater trail with his therapy dog, Rapunzel, on Tuesday to face his demons. He called it his personal battlefield since that's where he shed blood and watched his dreams of becoming a soldier die.
Benjamin Davis, later acquitted by reason of insanity, stabbed him eighteen times in a random attack which left Iwamoto in tremendous pain to this day.
"I'm angry about the physical pain and being failed by the justice system. I am even more upset that because of what this individual did I can't fight for my country." said Iwamoto. "There were times when I felt very sorry for myself and I was very angry, but then I realized I can't change the justice system or lack thereof, but I can change how I live my life and hopefully help others."
Undying support from his single mother and the constant companionship of Rapunzel helped Iwamoto weather three dark years of depression and financial stress.
"While I don't necessarily agree with the psychiatrist who ruled that Mr. Davis didn't do anything wrong because he doesn't remember it and is not going to do it again, I still take credence in psychiatry absolutely."
Iwamoto said gratitude and shared pain give him insight into helping returning service members coming home from war with similar psychological wounds.
"I realize that I'm walking, I'm talking. I live in Hawaii the greatest state in America and the best country on earth, so how can I be feeling sorry for myself when so many people are suffering."