AA meetings denied for acquitted slayer

LIHUE — A Kauai judge Tuesday denied a man acquitted of a 2005 murder of unescorted, off-ground privileges from a Hawaii hospital.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe said she was not convinced that Raymond Earl Ard, 52, would not be a threat to the community after doctors said a psychotic episode is what caused him to kill Dr. John Kerns and attempt to kill Kerns’ son and wife on Feb. 27, 2005.

“While he is restrained and restricted in a number of ways at the Hawaii State Hospital, if he were to get out it was just a matter of time with the psychosis and the combination of substance abuse, he can become a danger to the community,”she said.

Watanabe said she based her reasoning on the opinion of the three panel of doctors who unimously said Ard was insane, but specifically Dr. Gerald McKenna’s report, which called Ard a “ticking time bomb.”

Ard, who suffers from bipolar disorder, is on medication to prevent psychotic episodes, said Dr. Margaret Grant, a witness for the defense at the hearing for Ard’s motion to allow him unescorted, off-ground privileges to attend alcoholic and narcotic anonymous treatment.

The motion was brought forward by Hawaii State Hospital Special Deputy General April Luria, who appeared by way of video conference Tuesday, on behalf of Ard.

In it, Luria asked the court to allow Ard to be able to walk unescorted from the Kaneohe hospital on Oahu to the Hina Mauka facility — a 10-to-15-minute walk — to attend NA/AA meetings.

Grant said Tuesday that part of Ard’s treatment would be to show that he becomes more and more successful toward independence.

Prosecutor John Murphy argued that Ard was already receiving treatment at the Hawaii State Hospital and could continue do so while supervised.

Grant said that Ard had already begun to understand his illness, such as determining when an episode had occurred in his history — including the details of the 2005 murder.

Kerns’ sister, Helen Egy, called to offer a statement to the court.

“Please do not call a murder an incident or an episode,” Egy said. “Ard killed my brother with planned deliberation. Ard lured him and knocked him to the ground and stabbed him in the heart and cut his jugular vein. Ard ran and hid until the police forces caught him.”

In 2005, Ard is said to have been living with Kerns’ and his wife and their handicapped son in Waimea after Kerns’ took him off the street, according to sources.

During the night, Ard had an episode and stabbed Kerns 25 times, according to reports.

He then went after Kerns’ 13-year-old son and stabbed him in the throat, missing his jugular vein. Shortly afterward, he went after Claudia Kerns, but he could not get to her.

Ard was arrested in Feb. 28, 2005.

The immediate cause of death to John Kerns was penetrating stab wounds to the chest with injuries to the left lung and heart, according to court records.

After a bench trial in 2006, Ard was found guilty of the first-degree attempted murder, but not guilty of the murder of the second-degree murder and the first-degree attempted murder. The court then acquitted Ard by reason of insanity.

Egy said Ard is too dangerous to be allowed out in the public and he would do anything to “appear docile to authorities.”

“He is a murderer,” she said. “He is violent around women and children, and elderly men like my brother.”

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