Shrine-torching case delayed

LIHU’E — Information on what was going on in the mind of an ‘Ele’ele man when he allegedly set fire to a statue at a Buddhist temple in Hanapepe will have to wait two weeks before becoming public.

Chico Santiago was mentally examined by three doctors in what is known as a “three-member panel,” in connection with his criminal-property-damage case.

On Thursday, the third of the three reports was not ready to be turned over to Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe.

Santiago’s attorney, Richard Gronna, asked for more time, in order for the third doctor to turn in the final report to the court.

In response, Watanabe set a hearing for March 23 to give the doctor more time to turn in the report.

Santiago’s jury trial was scheduled to begin in November. It was put off until he could be mentally examined by three doctors.

Santiago, 48, was indicted by members of Kaua’i’s grand jury last year for allegedly setting fire to a statue at the Kauai Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji.

According to the two-page indictment, Santiago faces one count of desecration, and one count of second-degree, criminal-property damage.

The alleged offenses took place March 16, 2005.

Second-degree criminal-property damage carries a maximum prison term of five years.

According to the indictment, Santiago could also be subject to an extended prison sentence of 10 years if he is convicted of the criminal-property-damage count.

Additionally, Santiago could be subject to being sentenced as a hate-crime offender.

According to the indictment, Santiago intentionally damaged property at the temple out of hostility toward those who go there, their nationality, religion or national origin.


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