Doctors working to restore mental fitness on ‘Jesus Bandit’

LIHUE — A doctor Tuesday told the court she had doubts about Richard Leibman’s fitness for trial. It was the first time Leibman has been seen in court since October.

Leibman is the 38-year-old man who made headlines for allegedly going into houses on the North Shore, taking food and then escaping.

Residents referred to the bearded man as “Jesus Bandit.” On one occasion by Secret Beach, he escaped police by quickly climbing a cliff.

On Tuesday, Leibman, Oahu Hawaii State Hospital Dr. Judith Hallstrom and social worker Cristina Mata appeared before Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe by way of video-teleconference to give an update on Leibman’s status.

Leibman, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and a personality disorder, has been found unfit to proceed to trial at least twice.

Hallstrom said Tuesday a new doctor had been assigned to Leibman’s case and that Leibman had been placed in a “more secure unit.”

Although Hallstrom did not believe that Leibman “was restorable,” the new doctor’s goal would be to get Leibman to fitness restoration so that he could stand trial to face criminal charges.

But Hallstrom said Leibman refuses treatment and that he was again found unfit to proceed to trial after he escaped the Oahu Hawaii State Hospital in January when a staff member left the door unlocked.

Since his arrest in January, he had been incarcerated at Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Leibman has refused to appear at court proceedings since October.

The court gave HSH 90 days to attempt treatment on Leibman to determine whether he was restorable and able to go to trial.

In September, Leibman was also found not fit to proceed for a trial by a panel of three doctors.

In that case, Leibman is charged with burglary in the first degree, resisting arrest, and two counts of assault of a law enforcement officer.

In February, Leibman failed to appear at a status hearing. A bench warrant for $10,000 was issued for his arrest. Police later located him in a parking lot in Poipu. As he ran, Leibman allegedly kicked officers and tried to scale a wall before he was arrested.

In 2013, Leibman was scheduled to fly to Texas with his mother on the condition that he seek out-patient mental health care, when he left the airport. Leibman had been released from Kauai County Correctional Center by a Fifth Circuit Court to continue treatment. No charges were filed against him.

Leibman was later arrested, charged and connected to multiple North Shore burglaries.

He is scheduled back in court on Aug. 30 for another update on his status.


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