Court proceedings have been suspended for a Molokai man charged with murdering his girlfriend while he undergoes examinations to evaluate his mental fitness at the time of the fatal shooting.
Marlin Lavoie, 33, of Honouliwai also will be evaluated for his current mental fitness to proceed with the court case when he is examined by three court-appointed psychiatrists or psychologists.
Lavoie was arrested after 24-year-old Malia Kahalewai was shot the night of March 20 at a friend's apartment at the Kawela Barns complex on Molokai. She had repeatedly told Lavoie to leave because she didn't want to talk to him before he went to his car, retrieved a rifle and shot Kahalewai as she sat on a porch outside the apartment, witnesses told police.
Kahalewai died of a single gunshot wound to her chest, police said.
Lavoie, who drove away after the shooting, was arrested the next morning when he surrendered to police near his residence. Police recovered the Remington bolt-action 30-06 rifle used to shoot Kahalewai.
Police said Lavoie and Kahalewai had been in a relationship for nine years and had four children.
In a court document, Lavoie's attorney Chris Dunn said that he believed that Lavoie was suffering from a "physical or mental disease, disorder or defect" and didn't appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions or couldn't conform his behavior to requirements of the law at the time of the shooting.
Dunn also said he believed that Lavoie lacks the mental capacity to understand the court proceedings against him and help in his defense.
During a court hearing July 1, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza granted the defense request for the mental evaluations.
The reports are due Aug. 26.
Another court hearing for Lavoie was set for Aug. 27
Lavoie is being held without bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, keeping a loaded firearm in an improper place, abuse and third-degree assault.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.