Extradition approved for killer who escaped from State Hospital

Extradition approved for killer who escaped from State Hospital

STOCKTON, Calif. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Extradition proceedings have begun for the Hawaii State Hospital escapee who fled to California.

Randall Saito had been fighting extradition and in a hearing last month refused to confirm his identity.

But on Tuesday, a San Joaquin County judge confirmed Saito's identity using his fingerprints and a mug shot, and allowed his extradition to move forward.

A follow-up hearing has been set for Dec. 22, and more details on when he'll return to Hawaii are expected to be hammered out then.

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

He arrived in California two hours before the State Hospital informed police that he was missing — a fact that's prompted the state to launch an investigation and put a number of workers on unpaid leave.

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.

In interviews after his arrest in California, Saito admitted to killing Yamashiro and said he faked mental illness to get out of prison sentence.

State Attorney General Doug Chin has said the state is working with the San Joaquin County prosecutor's office to "get Mr. Saito back to Hawaii to face escape charges." When he returns, he'll be held as a pre-trial felon at OCCC.

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