Release denial upheld

LIHUE — The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed a 5th Circuit ruling to deny an application for conditional release of a man found guilty of attempted murder but who was later acquitted by reason of insanity.

Raymond Earl Ard, 49, was charged in the 2005 multiple stabbing death of retired physician Jon Kerns at his Waimea property, and the attempted murder of Ard’s 14-year-old stepson, Richard Iwate.

Kerns had reportedly allowed Ard and his son to stay in a cottage on his property and cared for them.

Following a bench trial in 2006, Ard was found guilty of attempted murder and not guilty of murder, and then acquitted on grounds of his medical diagnosis, which included bi-polar disorder, auditory delusions and violent mood swings.

Ard has been in the custody of the Hawaii State Hospital ever since the verdict. Three separate requests for conditional release, including a move to the Mainland, have been denied in 5th Circuit Court.

The state Department of Health applied for Ard’s recent application.

The ICA ruled Oct. 20 that, despite conflicting opinions and testimony from medical professionals, there was substantial evidence to support the 5th Circuit’s determination that Ard continues to suffer from a mental disease and that he would not be released without danger to himself or others.

“We are grateful both to the Circuit Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals for recognizing the danger posed by this individual to our community,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe of the 5th Circuit presided over Ard’s jury-waived trial and has since denied three requests for unescorted off-grounds privileges. She said the decision did consider Ard’s progress as a model patient who has succeeded without the aid of psychotropic medication.

Most recently, Ard was denied conditional release at a July 5, 2012, hearing. Ard’s treatment team at the Kane Ohe treatment center had sought court approval for conditional release and was the subject of the appeal.

Attending psychiatrist Dr. Klebert Jones said in 2012 that Ard displayed no underlying mental issues and believed the violent behavior was triggered by a drug and alcohol addiction. Jones disapproved of the court’s practice of using medical records and a one-hour interview to make a prognosis that Ard suffers from a schizo-affective disorder.

Watanabe said the court-appointed doctors agreed Ard is not a danger to himself or others in his current setting, and would approve supervised release in a structured setting with drug testing. She denied motions as presented in the interest of public safety, with concern for any alternative setting for Ard on Oahu, Kauai or in Oregon.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Murphy represented the state in objecting to the motion in the 5th Circuit decision.

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