2 doctors say Richard Leibman is unfit

LIHUE — Doctors cannot agree if the man known as the “Jesus bandit” is fit to continue with his trial.

“There is a difference of opinion in the three panel reports — Dr. (Leonard) Jacobs and Dr. (Reneau) Kennedy each opined the defendant is not fit to proceed. Dr. (Dennis) Donovan is of the opinion Leibman is fit to proceed,” said Judge Kathleen Watanabe.

On Tuesday, Richard Leibman, 39, who is facing burglary, assault on an officer and escape charges, was scheduled to appear before Watanabe via a video conference from the Hawaii State Hospital. But he didn’t want to participate in the proceedings.

After looking at the final report from Jacobs, which was received Tuesday morning, Watanabe asked Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney, and Kai Lawrence, Leibman’s attorney, if they were willing to accept the reports.

“I’m willing to stipulate he’s not fit to proceed, but I’m going to ask for a continuance because I think the purpose of these reports was to determine whether or not he’s restorable,” Lawrence said. “Because there’s a difference of opinions, I think we should have the doctors come and testify and we can gather more information based on their testimony.”

Kollar said he didn’t object to continuance.

“The reports are a mixed bag. The state takes the position that he is dangerous and that he is maintained in the most secure setting as possible, given his extreme history,” he said.

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

In March 2014, Leibman was arrested on a Princeville golf course and charged with second-degree criminal trespassing and third-degree assault.

In January 2016, he escaped through an unlocked door at HSH and was later found on the beach fronting an Oahu hotel after a brief foot chase.

A month later, 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.

Leibman has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and a personality disorder, has been found unfit to proceed to trial at least twice, and has refused treatment. He has also refused to participate in court proceedings since October 2015. He will be back in court on April 24.

At that time, the doctors will be in court to discuss their respective opinions about Leibman’s fitness and restorability.


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