Killer is 'surprised' his escape worked, doesn't want to return to Hawaii

(Image: San Joaquin Sheriff's Office)
(Image: San Joaquin Sheriff's Office)
(Image: KCRA)
(Image: KCRA)

STOCKTON, Calif. (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Hospital escapee who acknowledges killing a woman nearly 40 years ago said Friday that he is surprised he was able to walk out of the Kaneohe psychiatric facility and make it to California before being captured.

Randall Saito told The Associated Press in a jail near Stockton, Calif., that he acquired "a pretty good" fake ID.

"I was surprised that it actually worked," the 59-year-old said before a court appearance. "I was expecting almost every leg of the way, I was expecting them to be right around the corner just going to nab me."

In court, Saito told a judge he "really didn't want to go back to Hawaii."

Saito was held without bail, and an extradition hearing has been set for Nov. 27.

State Attorney General Doug Chin said once Saito returns to Hawaii, he will be held at OCCC unless he's able to post his $500,000 bail. If he does post bail, he'll be sent back to the Hawaii State Hospital.

Chin also said that the state intends to ask the court at Saito's first court appearance in Hawaii to increase his bail.

Saito escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital Sunday morning, called a cab to pick him up at Kaneohe Community Park, flew to Maui on a chartered flight and caught a Hawaiian Airlines flight to San Jose, Calif.

He arrived in California on Sunday night, two hours before the State Hospital informed police that he was missing.

On Wednesday morning, he was captured in Stockton, Calif. thanks to a tip from a vigilant taxi driver.

On Friday, Saito refused to say if anyone helped him escape, where he got the money to travel or how he acquired the fake ID. He insisted that he only escaped to show that he should be free.

"I had no delusions of settling down. That's grandiose. I was just trying to get as much time as possible under my belt to prove my point that I could be in the community without supervision and not be truculent or violent or stupid," Saito told the AP.

"I just wanted a track record to throw back into the hospital and say, 'Look, nobody was there to supervise me. I was out. I didn't drink. I didn't drug. I didn't hurt anybody," he said.

Saito said he knew his money would run out at some point.

"But I wanted to extend my time out there as much as possible, maximize my record, my track record, that would be in and of itself irrefutable proof that I was out there doing it," he said.

Saito was acquitted by reason of insanity for the gruesome 1979 killing of 29-year-old Sandra Yamashiro at Ala Moana Center. She was a stranger to him.

He was committed to the State Hospital in 1981 after experts diagnosed him with necrophilia, or sexual attraction to corpses, and sexual sadism. And his repeated attempts to have unescorted leave from the hospital were rejected by the courts.

"I am terribly contrite for what I did," he told the AP. "I've regretted it from the day I realized that I had done it. And no one can be sorrier than I because no one is more culpable."

He said he faked mental illness to get out of prison sentence and go to the State Hospital instead.

Saito, who has said he abused substances before the killing, said the hospital was never going to give him a chance so "whether this worked out or not, or whether it made things worse, what does it matter?"

"I was riding that cab. The wind was blowing in my face. I was looking at all the lights in San Jose, and I actually felt human. And I thought to myself, 'Oh my God, I'm a human being,'" he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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