Mercado fit for trial
A 33-year-old Pahoa man accused of a 2000 sex assault in Hilo can proceed to trial.
A panel of three mental health professionals found John Douglas Mercado Jr. fit to stand trial.
Mercado is accused of impersonating a police officer, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, kidnapping, four counts of first-degree sex assault, three counts of third-degree sex assault, and use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony.
Mercado is accused of identifying himself as a police officer to gain entry to an apartment at 84 Olona St. in Hilo shortly before 8 a.m. Nov. 11, 2000. Once inside, he allegedly threatened the 27-year-old woman resident at gunpoint, demanded money, raped her and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The case went cold, but Mercado was indicted Dec. 15, 2010, after the FBI’s Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) reportedly pointed to him as the suspect, police said after the indictment.
Mercado has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Trial has not been set, but on Thursday, Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura scheduled a hearing for Dec. 4 at 9 a.m. to consider additional mental health reports in Mercado’s case.
Mercado remains in custody in lieu of $25,000 bail in Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
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