Friday | April 29, 2016
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Judge orders mental exam for alleged stabber Mims

Arraignment is suspended in the case of a 28-year-old man facing attempted murder charges for an alleged stabbing spree that resulted in three people being injured last month in Hilo.

On Tuesday, Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara ordered a mental examination for Varaha Mims to determine fitness for trial and penal responsibility. The consideration of responsibility, which takes into account Mims’ state of mind at the time of the alleged offenses, was ordered by the judge despite the objection of Mims’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa, who requested an examination to determine fitness only.

A hearing to consider the results of those reports is scheduled for 8 a.m. July 31. Mims was indicted June 4 by a Hilo grand jury with attempted first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, marijuana possession and fourth-degree property damage.

He’s accused of stabbing and critically injuring 28-year-old Skylar Nelson of Pahoa and Mims’ former landlord, 49-year-old Raghunatha John Giuffre of Wainaku in the early morning of May 23. Also injured was Nelson’s girlfriend, 27-year-old Sarah Steinbrecher of Hilo, who was treated for her wounds and released.

Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Lee asked the judge to continue detaining Mims without bail, stating “the defendant does pose a danger of fleeing the jurisdiction and also is a danger to the community.”

Ebesugawa requested bail be set, noting the original complaint set bail at $500,000.

“This, in and of itself, we would submit, is unreasonable bail and makes the privilege of bail unattainable for Mr. Mims,” he said.

Hara denied bail, calling Mims “a potential danger to the community, given the nature of the charges and given the current status of the uncertainty of his fitness hearings.”

Giuffre, who suffered more than 20 stab wounds and a punctured lung, has been released from Hilo Medical Center.

Nelson, who suffered a punctured aorta, remains hospitalized at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, but is “conscious and communicating” and doing “a little bit better,” according to his brother, Shane Nelson.

“He’s still dealing with a lot of different problems, but definitely, he’s in good hands on Oahu,” Shane Nelson said. “Right now, we’re doing the best that we can and looking forward to the day he can come home, hopefully.”

Family members set up an online fundraising site to help defray Skylar Nelson’s medical expenses at

Email John Burnett at


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