A psychopathic killer who escaped from a Hawaii psychiatric hospital and flew to California was caught with two high-quality fake IDs, two cellphones and more than $6,000 in cash, court documents have revealed.
Randall Saito, 59, was extradited on Wednesday from California to Honolulu, where he is being held pending $500,000 bail in a stunningly sophisticated escape from Hawaii State Hospital in November.
Saito’s escape ‘was not a matter of happenstance or a crime of opportunity, but required detailed planning and considerable financial resources,’ Hawaii Deputy Attorney General Kory Young said in a motion to keep him behind bars.
If Saito posts bail, he will be returned to Hawaii State Hospital, where he was committed after being acquitted by reason of insanity for the 1979 killing of Sandra Yamashiro.
Saito, described by state officials as a ‘violent psychopath’ who ‘fits all the criteria of a classic serial killer’, was diagnosed with sexual sadism and necrophilia after the slaying.
Scroll down for video
Randall Saito, 59, was extradited on Wednesday from California to Honolulu. He is seen in an interview from November after his stunning escape to the mainland
At the time of his arrest Saito had more than $6,000 in cash and fake Washington state and Illinois driver’s licenses (pictured) bearing his photos with different names, prosecutors said
Saito’s movements on Sunday from 9am, when he broke out of the hospital, until 5.30pm, when he landed in California
Yamashiro was found killed in her car. Prosecutors said she was chosen at random, shot in the face with a pellet gun, then fatally stabbed.
Saito has claimed he fabricated mental illness to get into the hospital. But he said he regretted doing so.
Officials are still investigating how he was able to escape, including where he got the money and other supplies. If he returned to the hospital, it would be impossible to keep him away from potential witnesses, hospital Administrator William May wrote in a letter to the court.
Saito plotted his escape with a banned cellphone, prosecutors said in documents.
After walking out of the hospital, he called a taxi that took him to the airport, where he caught a chartered flight to Maui. He used an alias to arrange the flight and paid $1,445 cash for it, the motion said. He then took a commercial flight to San Jose, California.
When he was arrested in nearby Stockton three days after his escape, he had more than $6,000 in cash and fake Washington state and Illinois driver’s licenses bearing his photos with different names, prosecutors said. The fake licenses contained convincing-looking holograms that are difficult to reproduce.
Saito stabbed and shot Sandra Yamashiro and left her body in her car at a mall (above)
Saito is pictured in the early 80s after being acquitted by way of insanity
‘We do not know if defendant Saito has a cache of other fake IDs at his disposal,’ Young wrote. ‘We do not know if there are other secret sources of money he can tap into.’
Hospital surveillance footage shows Saito taping door locks for a lounge and retrieving a garbage bag from a combination-locked cabinet on the morning of his escape, according to a detective’s affidavit.
He took clothes out of the bag and changed. He threw the bag with his old clothes in a dumpster and then opened a combination lock to get out of the hospital, the affidavit said.
It’s not known how he knew the combination.
In the taxi, he had a backpack that he didn’t have when he left the hospital grounds.
‘Whether he was provided with the backpack by another individual, or if he had secreted the backpack somewhere off of the hospital grounds is unknown,’ the prosecutor’s motion said.
Hawaii Public Defender Jack Tonaki, whose office is representing Saito on the escape charge, said it’s too early to comment on the allegations.
In November, Saito spoke to the media in a jail near Stockton, California before telling a judge he didn’t want to go back to Hawaii.
He refused to say if anyone helped him escape, where he got the money to travel or how he acquired what he called ‘a pretty good’ fake ID.
Saito was carrying a large backpack when he got into the cab. He picked it up along the 1-mile walk from the hospital to the park and it contained a false passport and a phone
He insisted that he only escaped to demonstrate that he should be free and was no danger to society.
‘I decided I needed to escape and prove that I’m on my own,’ Saito told KGO-TV. ‘That I can be out here and act appropriately. Even though I escaped to do it.’
He said that he ‘couldn’t believe’ he made it as far as he did before police caught him, describing his four days on the run as ‘surreal’ after almost 40 decades in custody.
Saito told KGO he flew to San Jose because it was the cheapest ticket.
He said he used ‘bogus’ IDs featuring his photo and another person’s name to get past the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.
He wouldn’t say who helped him in the escape by proving him with the money and identification cards.
When the fugitive landed in San Jose, he said it felt ‘surreal’ that he managed to pull off his daring escape.
Saito spent Monday in San Jose trying to buy a car, but could not find a good enough deal.
Saito, 59, is pictured wearing a bucket hat and orange jacket in the back of a cab he called to collect him from a park on Sunday 15 minutes after escaping from a mental hospital in Honolulu
Saito (pictured the day after escape) was described as a ‘violent’ and ‘dangerous’ sexual sadist
He then took a cab to Stockton, where his brother lives, but he said he did not meet with any family members because he did not want to embarrass them, and instead spent most of his time in his hotel room.
At one point, he took a cab to a local Walmart to buy a phone, but the device turned out to be defective, so he headed back to the store to try and exchange it but was unable to because he did not have a receipt.
When he came out of the store, his cab driver told him he needed to go to a gas station to fill his tank, and Saito said he started laughing because he knew then that police were onto him.
Sure enough, when he emerged from the gas station convenience store, officers were waiting to take him into custody.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office later said Saito’s taxi driver had tipped them off and led them to the escapee.
Saito explained that the escape was an ‘act of desperation’ borne out of his desire to prove that he could exist in society without causing anyone harm.
This photo provided by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office shows Saito being arrested Wednesday, after four days on the lam
‘This was about buying myself time in the community to prove that I could be in the community without doing anything wrong,’ he said.
He told the KGO reporter: ‘I wanted more time… so it would have more validity,’ he said, ‘that I had all this time to do something bad, but I didn’t.’
His plan was to stay as long as possible on the outside and build a ‘track record,’ so later he could go back to hospital officials in Hawaii and say, ‘Look, I was out for a month, and no one was hurt by me.’
‘I felt human during those four days. I want people in Stockton to know that I was not going to hurt anybody,’ Saito said in another jailhouse interview with KCRA.
He said he regretted the 1979 murder that got him committed.
‘I regret the murder. Let’s just make that clear. I do have remorse about it. I am absolutely contrite. No one else can be more contrite than I. Because no one is more responsible. What do they want me to do? I can’t turn back time,’ Saito said.
He said he was a substance abuser for three years before the killing, indulging in alcohol, LSD and PCP.
‘I was in bad shape. I was paranoid,’ he said, adding that on the night of the killing he lost his grip on sanity and ‘snapped.’
Saito described the mental health facility where he had been locked up for nearly four decades as ‘hell in a handbasket’ and alleged that ‘patients’ rights were being denied.’
He added: ‘I don’t want to be in the state hospital. I’m not safe there.’
Saito didn’t have privileges to leave the hospital grounds without an escort. Repeated attempts by Saito to win such passes were rejected by the court.
In 1993, a court denied his application for conditional release on the grounds he was still a danger to society.
Court records from that case described how the ‘manipulative’ murderer had had sexual relationships with several hospital staffers.
In 2000, he appealed to be released but was refused. One judge in denying his plea for release said Saito ‘fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer’.
Until 2003 however, he had been allowed to have supervised conjugal visits at the home of a loved one.