A Kona District Court judge granted the defense’s request to suspend court proceedings in order to conduct an examination of fitness for a Kona man accused of killing two houseless men and assaulting two other houseless individuals in Hilo.
Twenty-four-year-old Chito Asuncion appeared in plain clothes before Per Diem Judge Joseph P. Florendo Monday afternoon on charges of first-degree murder, which applies when an individual murders more than one person; two counts of second degree murder; and two counts of second-degree attempted murder.
Defense attorney Andrew Kennedy filed a motion Sunday, June 12, to suspend proceedings for examination for fitness. During Monday’s hearing, Kennedy noted that during interviews with police Asuncion “related that by killing homeless people he feels it helps them get to a better place whether it is heaven or hell. When asked if there was a reason that he chooses to do this while the people are sleeping, he related that it is more peaceful.”
Kennedy also said during an hour-long interview with Hawai’i police, the motion indicates the defendant was left alone for short periods. During one of these periods, the defendant began speaking to himself. It was not apparent if the defendant was speaking English, or what language he was speaking.
“I’ve had a number of conversations with Mr. Asuncion and I don’t know that he fully understands the gravity of the charges,” he added.
With no objections from the state, Florendo granted Kennedy’s motion. Asuncion is to be reviewed by three doctors, selected by the state and defense. Reports must be returned on July 20.
As of now, Kennedy told the court he is unaware of any history of mental illness.
Bail was maintained at $1.5 million. The state’s motion for no bail was set for a hearing on June 27.
Asuncion was arrested Tuesday, June 7, after Hawai’i police discovered a lifeless body at Hale Halawai Park in Kona. The victim was later identified as 48-year-old Boyd Maygra of Kailua-Kona. An autopsy conducted Wednesday determined he suffered multiple stab wounds.
Through the course of their investigation, police linked Asuncion to a reported fatal stabbing in Kona on or around May 17 where authorities discovered the body of 63-year-old Brian Macaulay of Kailua-Kona near the intersection of Palani Road and Queen Ka’ahumanu highway.
Asuncion was also linked to two non-fatal assaults in Hilo. The first occurred on May 25 and involved a 59-year-old man. The second was reported on May 30 and involved a 70-year-old Hilo woman.