A Hilo grand jury has indicted an escaped mental patient accused of stabbing his friend to death late last year in Puna.
The indictment returned Wednesday charges 35-year-old David True Seal with second-degree murder. A no-bail bench warrant was approved by 3rd Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura. Seal is accused of the slaying of 32-year-old Rory Thompson Wick on Nov. 5 on the Eden Roc subdivision property where both men lived in separate residences.
Police said Wick was stabbed multiple times in the heart and left lung by Seal, who escaped Dec. 3, 2009, from the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, Oahu, after scaling a 14-foot-high wire mesh fence. Seal had been at large since his escape. He was committed to the mental hospital in April 2002 after being acquitted by reason of insanity for the kidnapping and attempted rape of an 8-year-old girl on Maui.
Proceedings in Seal’s case had been halted after he requested that a panel of three mental health professionals examine him to determine his fitness to proceed. Third Circuit Judge Barbara Takase has set a hearing for 1:30 p.m. March 25 on those reports.
Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Lee said Wednesday that Seal will not be arraigned in 3rd Circuit Court in Hilo until after that hearing. He indicated that the mental health professionals have found Seal fit to proceed.
“It’s my understanding that (Seal) is on Oahu right now getting treatment for an injury to his hand that allegedly occurred during this incident,” Lee said. Lee said that Seal had sustained possible tendon damage.
Seal had been hiding in plain sight on the Big Island for at least a year, possibly longer, and had taken kendo lessons from the Kobukan Kendo Club at the county’s Waiakea Recreation Center under the alias “Serif Swaim.”
The kendo club’s chief instructor John Akagi described Seal as a dedicated student and said he experienced “great shock” when told of Seal’s alleged actions and history.
Wick and Seal were friends who knew each other from Hana High School on Maui.
According to court documents, a witness to the fatal stabbing told police that Seal, who the witness knew only as “Serif,” challenged Wick to a duel or knife fight, stating that he needed to advance his samurai skills. The witness said that Serif went to the dish rack and got two kitchen knives and challenged him to fight. He said that after Wick told him to “cut it out,” Serif stabbed him in the back.
The witness ran from the home and called police, documents state.
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