Schmidt mental health hearing set

Stephen B. Schmidt

Stephen B. Schmidt

WAILUKU — With a deputy prosecutor saying doctors reported a “strong suspicion” that a murder suspect was faking mental illness, a hearing on his mental fitness was set for next month.

The doctors who did court-ordered examinations of Stephen B. Schmidt, 45, of Kahului are expected to testify at the hearing May 22 before 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen.

Schmidt has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder of his estranged wife, 24-year-old Kehau Farias Schmidt, who had obtained a court order for protection that prohibited Schmidt from contacting her. She died after her throat was slit in the Foodland Kehalani store while she and a friend were shopping there the evening of April 19, 2016.

Bystanders who tried to help Farias Schmidt were stabbed and cut several times, police said.

Schmidt also has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and first-degree terroristic threatening.

In court Wednesday, defense attorney Chris Dunn asked that Schmidt be found mentally unfit to proceed in court, based on reports from three psychiatrists or psychologists who examined him.

Dunn asked that Schmidt be placed in the Hawaii State Hospital until he regains mental fitness.

Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin opposed the defense request, saying there was insufficient information and evidence in the reports to support such a finding. He said doctors’ reports referred to a “strong suspicion that the defendant is malingering.”

Schmidt is being held without bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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