Man accused of Kailua attack found not guilty by reason of insanity

Man accused of Kailua attack found not guilty by reason of insanity
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A homeless man charged with trying to kill a Kailua woman after breaking into her home has been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Circuit Court Judge Richard Perkins committed Chauncey Ingraham to the Hawaii State Hospital on Tuesday.

Ingraham faced charges including attempted murder and burglary in connection with the December 2014 attack. Sarah Yoshida was stabbed several times after entering her house on Kaikea Place. She managed to escape and police later found Ingraham in a stolen vehicle in Waimanalo.

The court determined that the 31-year-old defendant was fit to proceed and he waived his right to a jury trial. After reviewing the testimony of four mental health experts, Judge Perkins acquitted Ingraham of the crimes.

"The court found that we did prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was guilty of all those crimes, but he was not responsible because he suffered a long history dating back to I believe 8th grade, of mental health issues," explained deputy prosecuting attorney Scott Spallina.

The judge committed Ingraham to the Hawaii State Hospital after deciding that he was still a danger to himself and the public.

"He's going to be spending a very, very long time up there, and then it's up to the doctors, it's up to the defense counsel to say, 'Okay, now he's ready to join us in society,'" said Spallina.

A Windward Oahu lawmaker, however, is worried about the verdict. During the year before the attack, Ingraham spent time in jail and the mental hospital after throwing a rock through a store window.

"I'm concerned that if he's in the state hospital, that he may not be retained long enough to actually be able to get the care that he needs to become a productive citizen again," said Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe Bay).

Thielen introduced new legislation to facilitate involuntary hospitalizations and other forms of treatment for mentally ill individuals who are likely to behave dangerously in the future. House Bill 1686 would replace the current standard of imminent dangerousness with the criterion of a likelihood of harm to self or others based on recent behavior.

Yoshida did not appear at the trial. Prosecutors said she moved away from Hawaii and is still dealing with the trauma from the assault.

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