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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 24, 2010

University of Hawaii math professor acquitted of arson

Advertiser Staff

University of Hawai'i mathematics professor David Bleeker wasn't in his right mind when he set his office door on fire at the Mānoa campus last year, a judge ruled today in acquitting Bleeker of arson.

Bleeker had been on leave for a year because of erratic behavior at the time of the June 2009 fire and was disabled by bipolar and cognitive mental disorders, Circuit Judge Richard Perkins ruled.

Bleeker, 62, appeared before Perkins and said he is now taking lithium and another anti-psychotic medication and understood the legal charges against him.

Acting on the basis of reports from three court-appointed mental-health experts, Perkins found Bleeker not guilty.

The ruling was not opposed by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Franklin Pacarro.

Perkins said Bleeker, who is now being treated at the Hawaii State Hospital, can be moved to a structured group-home setting when bed space becomes available.

And Perkins ordered another hearing to be held in August on the level of danger Bleeker poses to himself or others if released into the community.