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Randall Saito Appears in California Court

Surveillance video shows Randall Saito in a taxi in Honolulu, en route to catch a plane to Maui.

STOCKTON — Randall Saito appeared at a hearing on Nov. 17 at the San Joaquin County Main Courthouse in Stockton.

Saito, 59, was ruled not guilty by reason of insanity for the 1979 murder of Sandra Yamashiro and was committed to the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe. He escaped on Nov. 12, took a plane from Honolulu to Maui, then flew to San Jose before Hawaii authorities were notified of his disappearance. He was apprehended by San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputies on Nov. 15 in Stockton.

Saito was assigned a public defender, who asked for more time to consult with his client. The court has scheduled a further arraignment on Nov. 27 at 1:30 p.m. He is being held without bail.

At the hearing, Saito will have the choice to admit his identity and agree to extradition back to Hawaii, or to contest extradition. If the court approves extradition, he will be transported back to Hawaii. The exact time and manner of that extradition is still being coordinated between law enforcement authorities in California and Hawaii.

Hawaii Attorney General Chin said, “On behalf of Gov. [David] Ige and myself, I extend my thanks to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, San Joaquin District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar, Assistant District Attorney Ron Freitas, and the entire San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office for their quick arrest of Randall Saito and their continuing assistance in working on his extradition back to Hawaii.

“We respect the process and will work with law enforcement officials in San Joaquin to make sure they have everything they need to ensure Saito’s return to Hawaii for prosecution as soon as possible.”

Once he returns to Hawaii, Saito will be held as a pre-trial felon at the Oahu Community Correctional Center unless he posts the $500,000 bail or bond. If he does post bail, he will be sent back to the Hawaii State Hospital. Either way, he will not be released into the community.

“At the time Saito makes his first appearance in court in Hawaii, the state intends to ask the judge to increase bail or have him held without bail,” Chin said.

In a statement last week, Chin said, “At Gov. Ige’s direction and with the state health director’s full consent, my office will conduct an internal investigation to determine what procedures and protocols were breached, and who – if anyone – assisted with Saito’s escape. Separately, my criminal justice division will work closely with the Honolulu Police Department as HPD continues its criminal investigation. This will ensure that appropriate administrative and criminal penalties are thoroughly considered.”

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