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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Suspect's mental fitness to be decided in park ranger murder

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

A hearing will likely be held in federal court next month to decide whether a man accused of murdering a Big Island park ranger in 1999 is mentally fit to stand trial.

Eugene Frederick Boyce III, was charged with the Dec. 12, 1999, shooting of Steve Makuakane-Jarrell, 47, at the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park.

Makuakane-Jarrell had gone to investigate a complaint about Boyce's three dogs and was shot in the arm and head.

Boyce, 32, a drifter who lived in the Big Island woods, was sent to a federal facility in Minnesota for a mental health evaluation and was also evaluated by a mental health expert last week at the Federal Detention Center near Honolulu International Airport.

Yesterday, federal Public Defender Peter Wolff, who is Boyce's defense lawyer in the case, and Ken Sorenson, the assistant U.S. attorney who is prosecuting the case, told federal Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren that a full "evidentiary hearing" before federal Judge Susan Mollway is required to determine Boyce's competency.

The judge must determine whether Boyce is capable of assisting in his defense, one of the requirements to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Wolff said the hearing before Mollway is tentatively set for Nov. 27.