Doctor acquitted in murder-for-hire plot seeks to rebuild his li - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Doctor acquitted in murder-for-hire plot seeks to rebuild his life

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

In 2010, Dr. Dennis Ayon was charged with trying to hire a patient to kill his ex-girlfriend

The defense argued the patient, Linda Moore, was infatuated with Ayon and twisted talk about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend into a murder-for-hire plot.

His first trial ended in a hung jury. In his second trial, a jury found Ayon guilty of a petty misdemeanor -- not a felony.

"The jury found I was careless with some information. That was it," he said. "There was no plot. There was no murder. And there was no hiring."

Ayon was locked up for 22 months while his case went through the court system.

A judge would later describe his ordeal as "tragic."

As Ayon fought the charges, his Wahiawa medical practice closed. Now, no one will hire him to practice medicine.

"I've done what I can to apply for jobs here and I got shut down" because of news coverage of his trials.

Deputy public defender Ed Harada represented Ayon in his second trial. He blames the roadblocks Ayon faces on the city prosecutor's office and how the case was covered in the media.

"If they charged the petty misdemeanor originally, Dennis would still have his job," he said. "He wouldn't have this problem of having to deal with background checks."

Potential employers searching Ayon's name on the internet stop at the stories that top the page. The first result: "Doctor in murder-for-hire plot goes on trial."

Dr. John Corboy, Ayon's friend, said Ayon has tried everything to re-gain some semblance of his old life.

"It's the same old story, 'Well, we can't take a chance on an accused felon," Corboy said.

Hawaii law is meant to protect people convicted of crimes when they apply for jobs. It's different on the mainland.   

"Especially companies that aren't just Hawaii companies but national employers, they may have on their application forms a question about criminal record. In Hawaii those questions are generally prohibited," said William Hoshijo, executive director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

Ayon acknowledges he had difficulties with alcohol before being charged.

He said he hasn't had a drink since his arrest, and he and his ex-girlfriend have reconciled.

Previous stories

Alleged murder-for-hire plot revealed
Tuesday, November 9th 2010, 9:22 am HST
By Teri Okita 

WAHIAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The court documents read like a script from "Law and Order." Doctor Dennis "Denny" Ayon has a couple of temporary restraining orders against him from different women including the ex-girlfriend who was reportedly targeted.

The Wahiawa office of Doctor Denny Ayon is shuttered for the day. Monday afternoon, police arrested him here for allegedly scheming to kill his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his four-year-old son.

He was initially taken to the Wahiawa sub-station before being booked downtown. The police report indicates the 48-year-old doctor allegedly offered to pay one of his patients to kill the 44-year-old woman. Instead, the patient revealed the plot to woman, and she went to police.

The report says Ayon mentioned money problems. He was due in family court with woman on Wednesday.

Patients, acquaintances, and friends we talked with in Wahiawa can't believe it.

Fellow members at the Wahiawa Lions Club say he donated annually to the youth camp and dressed as Santa at the Christmas party. Some of those who work near Ayon's practice say he's always kind.

"He's professional. I mean, neat guy. Very, very friendly, always smiled and stuff. I'd catch him in the parking lot around the building. He's our neighbor downstairs and this is a total, total shock," New Hope senior pastor Mike Palompo said.

Court records, though, paint a more Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. Ayon has had a string of complaints and temporary restraining orders against him from several women, including the woman and an ex-wife who claims he abused and threatened to kill her. He then filed a TRO against the ex-wife for abusing him. Court records also allege he tried to commit suicide and used alcohol and drugs excessively.

In this latest incident, he was arrested on criminal solicitation to commit murder and violation of a TRO.

Again, police have yet to charge Ayon. They say murder-for-hire cases are, thankfully, unusual in Hawaii. In 2008, a Waikiki man allegedly hired someone to kill his ex-wife's husband. And in 2006, a 41-year-old Maui man allegedly hired two men to kill a guy who he thought was romantically-involved with his wife.

Man charged in alleged murder-for-hire case
Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 12:53 pm HST
By HNN Staff

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Wahiawa doctor accused of soliciting a patient to kill the mother of his son has been charged.

Forty-eight-year-old Dennis Ayon was charged Wednesday for solicitation to commit murder in the first degree and a temporary restraining order violation charge.

Ayon is being held on one million dollars, cash only bail.

His initial court appearance will be Friday.

Man charged in murder-for-hire case makes initial court appearance
Friday, November 12th 2010, 9:28 am HST
By HNN Staff

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Wahiawa doctor accused of trying to have his ex-girlfriend killed made his initial court appearance Friday, and he isn't getting out anytime soon.

Authorities charged Dennis Ayon for allegedly offering to pay one of his patients to kill her.

Instead, investigators say the patient revealed the plot to Ayon's ex, and she went to the police.

According to officials, the patient said Ayon was upset because he lost visitation privileges for his son.

Ayon's defense attorney asked for bail reduction and insisted Ayon is not guilty, but the judge wouldn't have it.

Ayon is being held on $1 million bail.

Patient in alleged murder-for-hire plot testifies at preliminary hearing
Tuesday, November 16th 2010, 9:11 am HST
By: Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The patient who exposed a Wahiawa doctor's alleged murder-for-hire plot took the witness stand at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Linda Moore says she went to see her doctor, Dennis Ayon, because she wanted to get a prescription refilled. She says their conversation turned from medical to murder.

Moore walked into a courtroom to testify against the doctor she says she trusted for five years, a man she described as "usually calm." She says during her visit to Dr. Dennis Ayon's Wahiawa office on November 6th, she asked him why he had not been at work for so long.

"He said that he was having trouble, a lot of difficulties with his son's mother and that his staff had stolen everything from him and he was sad and depressed and he just stayed home," Moore said.

She testified that Ayon became very angry, started sweating and turning red, and said that he wanted the mother of his four-year-old son dead. Moore says he was upset over losing visitation rights, and told her she would be "rewarded" if she hurt his ex.

"I thought he was joking," Moore testified. "I said, 'Yeah, I'll beat her up. Give me her address.'"

"Then what happened?" Maurice Arrisgado, deputy prosecutor, asked.

"Well, then we talked some more," Moore said. "But he did, he opened up a drawer on this table and he pulled out a Post-It and he wrote down her address and phone number."

She says she later called the ex-girlfriend and met her at Aloha Tower.

"I handed her the Post-It note and she started to cry," Moore testified. "She was very upset and she showed it to her mom. Then she asked me if I would stay while she called the police."

The defense questions the credibility of the state's witness.

"Basically, he feels that I'm emotionally unstable because I'm on anti-depressants," Moore said.

According to Moore, the doctor said that if she didn't kill his ex, he would get someone else to do it.

"I really didn't want to get involved," she said. "It wasn't my business. But then, if anything were to happen to her, then it would have been my fault."

The judge determined there's enough evidence to send the case to trial, and ordered the defendant to stay away from his ex-girlfriend, Moore and other witnesses.

Bail remains set at $1 million. Ayon is scheduled to be arraigned at Circuit Court November 29th.

Doctor accused of murder-for-hire plot to undergo mental examination
Thursday, April 28th 2011, 1:43 pm HST
By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Criminal proceedings against a Wahiawa doctor accused of a murder-for-hire plot have been suspended pending the results of a court-ordered mental examination.

The attorney for Dr. Dennis Ayon requested the evaluation against his client's wishes Thursday. The defendant maintains he is mentally fine.

Prosecutors say Ayon tried to hire one of his patients to kill the mother of his four-year-old son because he was upset over losing visitation rights. The patient testified at a preliminary hearing last November that she called the ex-girlfriend and told her about the alleged solicitation.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins granted the defense's motion for the appointment of three mental health experts to examine Ayon. The panel will report back on whether the defendant is mentally fit to proceed to trial.

Doctor accused of murder-for-hire plot deemed mentally fit to stand trial
Thursday, July 21st 2011, 12:44 pm HST
By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Wahiawa doctor accused of a murder-for-hire plot was declared mentally fit to proceed to trial Thursday.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins made that ruling after three court-appointed mental health experts examined Dr. Dennis Ayon and unanimously agreed that he's capable of understanding the criminal proceedings against him and assisting his attorney in his defense.

Investigators say Ayon tried to hire one of his patients to kill the mother of his four-year-old son because he was upset over losing visitation rights. The patient reportedly called the ex-girlfriend and revealed the alleged solicitation.

The defense has questioned the patient's credibility.

Ayon is charged with criminal solicitation, a class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. His trial has been set for October.

Doctor accused of murder-for-hire plot goes on trial
Monday, January 19th 2015, 12:53 pm HST
By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Trial began Wednesday for a Wahiawa doctor accused of a murder-for-hire plot involving his ex-girlfriend.

The prosecution's first witness on the stand was Hea Joung Youm, the target of the alleged hit.

When Youm first met Dr. Dennis Ayon at Club Napa Valley, she says she found him to be handsome, charming and gentle. The two began dating and she looked forward to having his child.

"I love him so much that time and then I want his baby," she testified.

But the relationship became rocky, and later involved custody battles and restraining orders.

Prosecutors say Ayon asked one of his patients, Linda Moore, to kill the mother of his then-four-year-old son. The solicitation allegedly happened during Moore's visit to the doctor's office last November.

"I want her dead. I want her killed. I want you to go over there and beat her a**. I want you to kill her," Adrian Dhakhwa, deputy prosecutor, told jurors during his opening statements.

Prosecutors say Ayon wrote his ex's address and phone number on a Post-It, gave it to his patient, and told her she would be rewarded.

But the woman contacted Youm and revealed the alleged murder plot.

"Someone hiding and killing me, she tell me like that," Youm testified. "So I'm so scary, even though now. I couldn't, I couldn't believe, you know. I really, I couldn't believe."

The defense questions Moore's credibility.

"She sent letters and cards to Dr. Ayon, expressing her desire for him," Harrison Kiehm, defense attorney, told jurors during his opening statements. "Dr. Ayon rejected her romantic advances. Consequently, Ms. Moore was hurt. She wanted Dr. Ayon to feel her pain."

If convicted of criminal solicitation, Ayon faces up to 20 years in prison. The trial continues Thursday.

Doctor accused of soliciting patient to commit murder: that's not my recollection
Thursday, October 27th 2011, 5:40 pm HST
By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Wahiawa doctor accused of a murder-for-hire plot took the witness stand in his own defense Thursday.

It was the first time, Dennis Ayon responded publicly to allegations that he tried to get one of his patients to kill the mother of his child. He described the woman making the accusations as a "difficult patient" who was hurt because he rejected her romantic advances.

The defendant repeatedly used the phrase "that's not my recollection" when asked whether he solicited a female patient to commit murder.

"She would at times put her hands on me, touching my thigh, I think you might say inappropriate," Ayon said about the patient, Linda Moore. "She would say I love you, I love you, I love you, I've always loved you."

Moore told investigators that her doctor was upset about a custody battle over his four-year-old son, and that he asked her to kill his ex-girlfriend during an office visit last November.

Ayon acknowledges discussing some of his legal matters with his patient, but denies ordering a hit.

"I just tried to explain what I thought were common things out there, like challenges in Family Court," he said.

"Did you tell her to go and kill Ms. Youm?" Harrison Kiehm, defense attorney, asked.

"I would say no," the defendant replied. "That's not my recollection."

But the patient had a Post-It note with the ex's address and phone number on it. Prosecutors say Ayon gave it to Moore, who used the information to contact the ex and warn her about the alleged murder plot.

"Did you write that Post-It note?" Adrian Dhakhwa, deputy prosecutor, asked.

"Um, it's not my recollection, but possibly," Ayon replied.

The defendant maintains he was happy with the custody arrangement that he and his ex, Hea Joung Youm, worked out.

But prosecutors questioned whether Ayon actually lost his visitation rights when Youm obtained a restraining order against him.

"You're really not going in the right direction, sir," the defendant told the prosecutor. "I don't know how to answer that exactly."

If convicted of criminal solicitation, Ayon faces up to 20 years in prison. The jury will hear closing arguments Friday.

UPDATE: Hung jury in trial for doctor accused of murder-for-hire plot
Monday, October 31st 2011, 6:59 am HST
By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The trial for a Wahiawa doctor accused of a murder-for-hire plot against his ex-girlfriend ended with a hung jury Monday.

A judge declared a mistrial after jurors informed the court that they were hopelessly deadlocked. The panel began its deliberations last Friday.

Prosecutors say Dr. Dennis Ayon asked one of his female patients to kill the mother of his four-year-old son because he was upset over custody issues.

When asked if he ordered such a hit, Ayon last Thursday testified, "That's not my recollection."

The defense questioned the credibility of the patient, Linda Moore, saying that Moore was hurt because the doctor rejected her romantic advances.

A new trial is scheduled for May. The defendant remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.

Doctor accused of murder-for-hire plot convicted of lesser charge
Tuesday, August 14th 2012, 5:33 pm HST
By HNN Staff

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A jury has convicted a Wahiawa doctor accused of a murder-for-hire plot against his ex-girlfriend with a lesser charge.

Prosecutors say Dr. Dennis Ayon asked one of his female patients to kill the mother of his four-year-old son because he was upset over custody issues.

On the stand Ayon said he never asked his patient to kill his ex. He claims the patient actually had a crush on him and felt rejected after he dismissed her romantic advances.

Ayon was charged with criminal solicitation of murder. A jury on Tuesday found him guilty of criminal solicitation of assault, which is a petty misdemeanor.

The maximum penalty for a petty misdemeanor is 30 days in jail. He already has served that time and will be released.

An earlier trial for Ayon ended with a hung jury.

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