EXCLUSIVE: Kailua victim shares details of vicious stabbing
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been more than a month since Sarah Yoshida was almost killed in her Kailua home.
As painful and traumatic reliving that awful day is, she says it's time to share her story. She's doing it to empower other victims to fight back if it ever happens to them.
"When I walked in I saw the EMT shirt that was hanging up. And that's when I instantly knew that something wasn't right…but it was too late because he had jumped out," the 23-year-old said.
Sarah says she has no idea how the bizarre shirt got there, but she believes the intruder put it there to distract her.
"I believe he was trying to kill me," she said.
She says Chauncey Ingraham, 30, popped out from behind the wall. She says he was wearing a trash bag and latex gloves holding a knife.
"He had the knife in his hand pointing towards me like he was gonna stab me and he basically was saying like, ‘who's with you…I'm a soldier…you know what that is right," said Sarah.
As the strange man tried to force her into the bedroom, Sarah says she fought back.
“Basically we were on the floor and fighting and fighting. I'm pretty sure he was getting tired. I was tired."
She says she kept fighting, even after he stabbed her six times, in her head, arm, hand, and leg.
"He was basically coming at me wherever he could. And I was trying you know to get him off of me because he kept trying to grab me, put his hand over my mouth, trying to make me go unconscious," she said.
With blood everywhere, Sarah somehow got to her front door. Then ran to the home of a neighbor, a visiting pastor who called 911.
“They laid me down on the grass and held my head with the towel and basically was just you know talking to me, trying to calm me down. I wasn't sure where I got stabbed. I was just bleeding everywhere and they weren't sure either…he told me, ‘you'll be okay...I think you'll be okay,'” Sarah recalled.
“At one point yeah, I did feel like I was gonna die,” she said.
As paramedics rushed Sarah into surgery, Honolulu police found Ingraham in a stolen vehicle at a gas station in Waimanalo. He's been in jail ever since.
Court records show the homeless man, who is from the mainland, has a history of mental illness, drug abuse, and violence. In the year before the attack, we've learned that Ingraham bounced between jail and the state mental hospital after throwing a rock through a store window.
During a mental health exam, a psychologist said he wore an Aloha shirt as a cape and spread his arms out "like an airplane" saying he was the "Red Baron.”
The report also revealed that Ingraham experienced occasional "auditory and visual hallucinations."
The evaluation indicated that he faced a sex assault charge in North Dakota in 2009. But it was dismissed in a plea agreement. He was convicted for carrying a concealed weapon, theft, and criminal mischief in Montana in 2005.
The doctor concluded he posed a “high risk for violence to self, others and property if he was released to an unstructured environment.”
However, the doctor couldn't determine if he was insane and he was deemed fit to stand trial. So Ingraham pleaded guilty to the criminal property damage charge and was released after being sentenced to ten days in jail, without being ordered to get mental health treatment.
Louis Erteschik is the executive director of the Hawaii Disability Rights Center and has been a lawyer for 40 years. He says pleading guilty is probably the best alternative for defense attorneys because their defendant can basically walk free.
"There was no basis for the court to order anybody, whether it's this person or anybody else, to the state hospital, no…that's not how the legal system works," Erteschik said.
Erteschik says part of the problem is the state mental hospital is full and there are simply not enough services for the mentally ill.
“That's gotta be every judge's worst nightmare, and even every lawyer's nightmare too," said Erteshik, talking about Sarah's case.
Despite Ingraham's instability, Sarah says her attacker knew what he was doing.
"He was definitely crazy obviously. But I believe he was still “there” because when I told him I told him in the very beginning, I said, 'you don't want to do this…I'm gonna go…I just want to go.' And he was "there"…he was like, ‘no no no no no…it's ok…it's ok…we're gonna go to the bedroom,'" Sarah said.
Sarah is still trying to heal from this haunting experience and doesn't understand how Ingraham was let back into society.
"If he got released, there's more people being released. And if they don't give me a valid reason why he was released, it doesn't make sense, it doesn't add up. And yeah obviously I wanna feel like I'm safe. I don't wanna live my life in fear. I don't want anybody else to live their life in fear."
Sarah says she hopes Ingraham finds the helps he needs. But she can't ever forgive him after what he did to her, both physically and mentally.
"It's unforgivable. And I'll never…I'll never forgive him or forget him. But I'll never want to see him again...ever," she said.
She hopes by sharing her story, it can be a lesson for others.
"I encourage every other woman who goes through something like this or any sort of experience similar to don't give up. Just be strong and no matter how much bigger they are, you have to protect yourself and use your strength…no matter how painful it is, physically…don't give up," she said.
Ingraham is facing charges for burglary, kidnapping and attempted murder. Trial is set for February.
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