Defense disputes suspect mistook murder victim for other woman
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
The defense lawyer for accused killer Tittleman Fauatea disagrees with a psychologist’s theory that Fauatea stabbed teacher Asa Yamashita because he mistook her for another woman.
Dean Young, Fauatea’s lawyer, made the comments after a hearing on Fauatea’s mental fitness for trial was delayed until next month.
Fauatea, 25, has been charged with murdering Asa Yamashita, 43, as she sat on a bench eating a snack near the Supercuts barbershop at Ewa Town Center Feb. 27.
Dr. Stephen Gainsley, one of three mental health experts who examined Fauatea after he was arrested in the case, reported that Fauatea may have been trying to kill a barber who worked at Supercuts and physically resembled Yamashita.
Fauatea "appeared to have developed a preoccupation with the female barber, was rejected by her on several occasions and developed a plan of revenge," Gainsley wrote in a report to the court.
Young said today “That’s just an opinion that’s been fabricated by the doctor.”
Young said he believes the barber “had nothing to do with” what happened.
Fauatea “is severly disabled, mentally disabled” and had not been taking medication at the time of the attack.
“He was hearing things, seeing things that were not related to anybody else, just really random,” Young said.
Gainsley and another doctor said they believe Fauatea is competent to stand trial.
A third, Dr. Martin Blinder, said Fauatea is unfit for trial.
Blinder was unavailable to testify this morning. At Young’s request, Circuit Judge Richard Perkins delayed the fitness hearing to next month when Blinder will be available.
Fauatea’s mother and sister attended the hearing but left without comment.
“At this point the family is concerned about Mr. Fauatea,” Young said.
“They really want to meet the (Yamashita) family and talk to them, but it’s just not the right time for that to happen,” Young said.
Reach Jim Dooley at
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