Escaped killer who fled to California now at OCCC to face charges

Psychopathic killer who fled to California arrives back in Hawaii
Published: Jan. 9, 2018 at 12:30 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2018 at 6:54 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The escaped killer who fled from the Hawaii State Hospital and flew to California is now being held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

He will remain there unless he posts the $0.5 million bond that has been set on the escape charges he's now facing. If that happens, he will return to the Hawaii State Hospital.

U.S. Marshals escorted Randall Saito back to the islands Wednesday.

Saito landed in Honolulu about 2:40 p.m., and was transferred to the state's custody.

He smiled to reporters shortly after arriving and then said, "Hawaii State Hospital is not a safe place to be."

Saito faces charges for his daring escape from the Hawaii State Hospital in November, an incident that spurred a nationwide manhunt, a flurry of headlines and prompted the state to launch an internal investigation into operations at the facility.

San Joaquin County authorities turned Saito over to federal agents Tuesday morning.

State Attorney General Doug Chin has said U.S. Marshals would escort Saito back on a non-commercial plane.

Saito has been behind bars in California since Nov. 15, after he managed to escape from the state's only forensic psychiatric facility, call a cab to pick him up, fly to Maui on a charter flight, and catch a Hawaiian Airlines flight to San Jose.

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

After more than three decades at the mental hospital, several employees who currently work and have previously worked there told Hawaii News Now Saito used his charm and influence to manipulate his way into earning privileges he should never have been allowed, like being able to roam the campus grounds freely.

Sources also said that staffing is a major issue at the facility, and that a typical shift at the career insane unit where Saito was housed only has one nurse and two paramedical assistants in charge of overseeing more than a dozen patients at a time.


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Here's what we know about Randall Saito
Hawaii State Hospital staffer: 'Something rotten is going on'

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

He also said he escaped from the psychiatric facility because he didn't feel safe.

"There's a reason I came — because it's not safe in Hawaii State Hospital," Saito said. "I've been at Hawaii State Hospital for 37 years. During that time, my behavior has been nothing less than exemplary. I've never assaulted staff or patients even though I've been assaulted by staff and patients."

He also told a California reporter that it "wasn't easy" to escape from the Hawaii State Hospital.

And, he added that he "regretted" killed Yamashiro in 1979.

"God bless her soul. I have regretted it every day since the day it happened. And I pray for her every day," he said, in a chilling series of interviews.

This story will be updated. 

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