WAILUKU - A homeless man was acquitted by reason of a mental disease of a felony assault charge for an unprovoked attack with a 2-by-4 piece of wood last year on another homeless man in Kahului.
Second Circuit Judge Joel August made the ruling Tuesday morning in the case of Anthony Vowles, 23, who was arrested shortly after the Oct. 9 assault near Kane Street.
Vowles was to be transferred to the custody of the state Department of Health for evaluation and treatment at the Hawaii State Hospital.
As part of his trial Tuesday, the defense and prosecution agreed that Vowles - "seemingly at random and without provocation" - ran up to the 47-year-old victim and hit him twice with a wooden 2-by-4 stick.
He suffered a 3-inch laceration to the left side of his head and a cut to his right hand and was left with facial scarring.
Questioned by the judge, Vowles said he was being rude and had been told to leave by the victim before he swung at Vowles with a pair of scissors broken in half.
"I walked away," Vowles said. "He didn't come after me, and I picked up the piece of wood and hit him with it.
"I realized it wasn't the right thing to do. I realized this isn't good what I just did, and I dropped the piece of wood and walked away."
Vowles said he wasn't taking medication at the time.
"I was out of my mind," he said. "There was an echo in my mind that drove me out of my mind."
Three psychiatrists or psychologists who examined Vowles found that, at the time of the assault, he was suffering from a mental disease or disorder that kept him from appreciating the wrongfulness of his actions and conforming his behavior to the law, August said. He said the examiners also found that Vowles was still affected by the mental disorder with ongoing hallucinations and needed treatment.