Man facing attempted murder and robbery charges dies at MCCC

WAILUKU — A Maui Community Correctional Center inmate who had been facing charges including attempted murder and robbery has died after hanging himself at the Wailuku jail.

Phillip Schorvitz, 44, was pronounced dead March 24, a week after he hung himself in his cell March 17, according to his death certificate. It listed his manner of death as suicide.

Schorvitz was arrested Jan. 28 and charged with crimes that started at 10:35 a.m. that day when he entered the Tourneau store at The Shops at Wailea and fled with watches valued at $69,584, police said.

As he was leaving the store, he ran into an employee who was knocked to the ground and was later treated for a concussion, police said.

Then Schorvitz went to Ke Ali’i Ocean Villas on Lolupe Lane in Kihei at 11:07 a.m. and entered the manager’s office, police said. Schorvitz confronted the manager and sprayed him with pepper spray before the manager followed Schorvitz outside, police said.

Schorvitz attacked the manager with a knife, police said.

The manager sustained life-threatening injuries and was hospitalized, police said.

After leaving the Kihei property, where Schorvitz previously lived, he drove to another former residence in Kula and broke the rear windshield of a woman’s vehicle and pepper-sprayed her, police said.

Court proceedings in Schorvitz’s case had been suspended while he was being examined by three mental health professionals for his fitness to proceed in the case and his capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct and conform to the requirements of the law at the time of the offenses.

His attorney, Cary Virtue, said Schorvitz had been on suicide watch at the jail but was taken off the watch. He was being held alone in a cell when he hung himself and was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center after he was found, Virtue said.

He said Schorvitz had a history of mental health issues.

“This is an unfortunate situation,” Virtue said Wednesday. “He stopped taking his medication and was refusing to take medication. I know he was depressed, and he has a long history of mental health illness.

“What’s really sad is I feel if we could have gotten him into mental health court and back into treatment, this probably wouldn’t have happened.”

Virtue said one court-appointed psychiatrist had examined Schorvitz before his death and had submitted a report before Wednesday, which was supposed to have been the day for Schorvitz to return to court.

Now the case would be dismissed, Virtue said.

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


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