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Woman with mental illness history charged with arson

A 70-year-old Hilo woman with a long history of mental illness is accused of setting a dumpster fire in the parking lot of a facility that provides vocational and educational opportunities and training to people with mental illness.

Lindy Lou Akana is charged with third-degree arson, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment upon conviction.

According to police, the fire was reported at 7:22 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of the Hale ‘Oluea Clubhouse at 1045 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo. Police say the dumpster is about 15 feet from the clubhouse, which is operated by the Aloha Club of Hilo, a nonprofit organization.

The clubhouse’s mission, according to its IRS filings for tax-exempt status, is “to offer comprehensive psychosocial rehabilitation services to adults with serious and persistent mental illness to help them improve … abilities needed for successful reintegration into the community and to increase their quality of life.”

According to police, it’s unknown if anyone was in the clubhouse as staff, apparently, were arriving to work.

The dumpster, according to the complaint, belongs to Business Services, and damage caused by the fire is in excess of $500.

Akana was in custody in lieu of $2,000 bail when she made her initial court appearance Monday. Her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Isaac Ickes, asked Hilo District Judge Kimberly Taniyama to grant Akana supervised release without cash bail.

Taniyama granted Ickes’ motion despite the objection of Deputy Prosecutor Adrienne Shergill and ordered Akana to appear for a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. Sept. 30.

According to court records, Akana was twice acquitted by reason of insanity in felony bench trials, for first-degree burglary in 2007 by Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura and for first-degree terroristic threatening, property damage and disorderly conduct in 1997 by then-Hilo Circuit Judge Riki May Amano.

In 2012, now retired Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara ruled Akana was in compliance with court-ordered mental health treatment and didn’t present a danger to herself and others. She was discharged from court-ordered supervision at that time.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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