Documents: Hospital escapee had sexual relations with staff

San Joaquin County officials discuss arrest of escaped Hawaii man
Published: Nov. 13, 2017 at 12:46 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2017 at 10:14 AM HST
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(Image: CrimeStoppers)
(Image: CrimeStoppers)
(Image: Police)
(Image: Police)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/Archive)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/Archive)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A massive, multi-agency manhunt for Randall Saito, the Hawaii State Hospital escapee described as a "psychopathic predator," ended Wednesday after authorities captured him in Stockton, Calif.

Meanwhile, new developments over Saito's past emerge.

Documents from 1993 obtained by Hawaii News Now revealed that Saito had sexual relations with at least three hospital staff members. Saito has been known for his manipulative nature, and sources say sexual relations took place on multiple occasions where he was able to obtain contraband.

There were also growing questions Tuesday about why it took hours for State Hospital staff to report Randall Saito's escape on Sunday.

Saito had fled Oahu to Maui and then boarded a flight to California before law enforcement officials knew the "violent psychopath" was gone.

State Hospital officials declined to elaborate on the timeline surrounding Saito's escape, citing privacy issues and an ongoing investigation. But that didn't stop lawmakers from blasting state officials.

Meanwhile, the state attorney general said Tuesday night that Saito had been charged with felony escape. There's a $500,000 bench warrant for Saito's arrest.

"This is a dangerous individual. We need him off the streets," said state Attorney General Doug Chin. "The state is in close contact with law enforcement to make this happen.

Saito, 59, escaped from the State Hospital about 9 a.m. Sunday, called a cab and picked it up at Kaneohe Community Park.

Surveillance video in the cab clearly shows that when Saito got in he had a backpack stuffed with supplies, including a cell phone with a portable charger. He hadn't had that backpack when he escaped from the State Hospital.

During the ride, Saito is seen texting on the phone, then starts rifling through the backpack as if he's seeing what's inside for the first time.

Sources say that there are other facts that show Saito had planned his escape well in advance: His ticket to California was purchased online, and he paid for both his cab ride and his charter flight in cash, using an assumed name.

After being dropped off at the airport, Saito jumped on a charter plane to Maui, then boarded a Hawaiian Airlines flight for California.

That flight landed about 5:30 p.m. Sunday Hawaii time.

The state Health Department didn't report his escape to authorities until about 7:30 p.m., and authorities put out an alert to the community about 8:20 p.m.

Authorities have called Saito a "violent psychopath," and prosecutors have argued for years that he should not be unsupervised in the community. He was acquitted by reason of insanity in 1979 of the gruesome murder of a woman at Ala Moana Center.

'Risk of danger'

Those who have fought to keep Saito away from the community warn he is psychopathic and dangerous.

"Because he committed a murder, no matter how long ago it was, he still has ability or inherent ability to do another murder or violent crime," Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Tashima said.

In 2015, Tashima says the court denied a motion that would have allowed Saito to take unsupervised trips off hospital grounds.

"Because of the risk of danger he posed, we weren't comfortable with him being out there. Even with an escort," Tashima said.

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

Sources confirm that despite Saito's dangerous past and violent tendencies, he was allowed to roam the grounds of the hospital freely, with a requirement that he check in with staff periodically.


TIMELINE: Escapee had cell phone, change of clothes, paid in cash
Why did it take so long to report escape? State isn't saying
Here's what we know about Randall Saito
Hawaii State Hospital staffer: 'Something rotten is going on'

On Sunday, he failed to check in. It's not yet known why State Hospital staff waited much of the day before reporting his escape.

Students at nearby Windward Community College say they were notified late Sunday night.

"I'm kind of always alert of what's around me because I'm by myself over here, but it's just kinda scary because he escaped so close to where I work and go to school," said Ashlyn Yasuda, who works at WCC.

Police released photos of Saito leaving the hospital Monday. Cameras captured him wearing a red jacket, pants and a button-up aloha shirt.

The 1979 Murder

Saito's victim was selected at random, authorities said at the time, shot in the face with a pellet gun and then fatally stabbed. After the murder, Saito was reportedly diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia, or sexual attraction to corpses.

He was committed to the Hawaii State Hospital after a judge acquitted him.

At the time, the city prosecutor vehemently disagreed with the decision, calling his acquittal a "miscarriage of justice."

"The defendant committed a cold-blooded murder," the prosecutor said.

Saito has sought release from the Hawaii State Hospital since the early 1990s, but those requests have always been denied.

In 1981, his attorney did not contest Saito's committal, saying he was dangerous and "intends to do it again."

Nearly two decades later, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that state prosecutors believed Saito fit "all the criteria of a serial killer" and opposed his release. And in 2002, in a Honolulu Advertiser article, prosecutors questioned why Saito was granted unescorted leave from the facility.

"He is a psychopathic predator whose mental condition continues to represent a serious danger to the community," deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Albert said at the time.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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