The man accused of murdering a Big Island park ranger pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court yesterday, two days after being declared mentally competent to stand trial.
Federal Public Defender Peter Wolff entered the plea on behalf of Eugene Frederick Boyce III who is charged with the Dec. 12, 1999, shooting of Steve Makuakane-Jarrell, 47, at the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren set an Oct. 16 trial date.
Makuakane-Jarrell had gone to investigate a complaint about Boyces three dogs and was shot in the arm and head.
Boyce, 31, a drifter who lived in the Big Island woods, sat throughout yesterdays hearing and responded with a single "yeah," to several questions posed by Kurren.
Federal court proceedings against Boyce were suspended in April after federal Magistrate Francis Yamashita found that Boyce was suffering from a mental disease that prevented him from assisting in his defense.
Yamashita ordered Boyce to undergo examination and treatment at a federal facility. Following a hearing Wednesday, Boyce was deemed competent to stand trial.
At the request of Wolff and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Sorenson, Kurren ruled that the case be considered a "complex" one in order for the prosecution and defense to have adequate time to review psychiatric and psychological evaluations of Boyce.
Sorenson said after the court hearing yesterday that the U.S. attorneys office here will review Boyces medical records before making a recommendation to the U. S. attorney general on whether the death penalty should be sought.