Psychiatric patient, who escaped to California, will be extradited back to Hawaii, officials say

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The Hawaii psychiatric patient who was captured on Nov. 15, three days after he managed to sneak out of his hospital and ultimately onto a plane going to California, will be extradited back to the Aloha state, the attorney general’s office said.

A warrant permitting the extradition of Randall Saito, 59, back to Hawaii was issued by California officials, the Hawaiian office announced Friday. They added that an arrangement was made with the U.S. Marshal’s Service for Saito to return to the islands on a non-commercial flight.

Saito, who told The Associated Press in a jail interview that he was surprised his plan “actually worked,” previously said in court, “I really don’t want to go back to Hawaii.”

A hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 5, 2018, to discuss the pending extradition.


Saito escaped Hawaii State Hospital, which is outside of Honolulu, on the morning of Nov. 12. He caught a taxi a mile away, which brought him to a charter plane going to Maui. He was later able to use an alias to get past security and onto another flight, heading to San Jose, Calif. Another taxi ride brought him to Stockton, where he was eventually apprehended.

Sources told Hawaii News Now that Saito purchased his plane ticket to California online and paid for his taxi ride and charter flight in cash.

It’s unclear why staff members at the hospital didn’t alert authorities of his disappearance until that evening, long after he’d managed to cross state lines.

After three days on the run, Saito was arrested in Stockton, Calif., after Honolulu authorities got a tip saying he was on his way to his brother’s home.

Saito was arrested in Stockton, Calif., on Nov. 15.

Saito was arrested in Stockton, Calif., on Nov. 15. (San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

Previously dubbed a “violent psychopath,” Saito was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity following the 1979 death of Sandra Yamashiro. He shot Yamashiro and repeatedly stabbed her before dumping her body in a parked car at a mall. Deputy city prosecutor Jeff Albert once said Saito had “all the criteria of a classic serial killer.”


Saito has resided at the psychiatric facility since 1981. At the hospital, Saito had sexual relations with a least three hospital staff members, who he allegedly manipulated to get contraband, according to 1993 documents obtained by Hawaii News Now. A court also denied his request for a conditional release the same year, saying he continued to suffer from sexual sadism and necrophilia.

But when planning his escape, Saito told The Associated Press that he never had plans to settle down, but was rather trying to prove a point about his stability.

“I was just trying to get as much time as possible under my belt to prove my point that I could be in the community without supervision and not be truculent or violent or stupid," Saito said. "I just wanted a track record to throw back into the hospital and say, 'Look, nobody was there to supervise me. I was out. I didn't drink. I didn't drug. I didn't hurt anybody."