Attorneys argue whether Xerox gunman was sane during killing spree

HONOLULU - The man accused of gunning down seven of his Xerox Corp. co-workers believed the company ''was messing with him'' and ''hated his co-workers because he thought they made him look bad,'' a prosecutor argued Monday.

Prosecutor Peter Carlisle also said Byran Uyesugi, 40, ''deliberately, methodically and maliciously'' killed the victims Nov. 2 at the company's downtown warehouse - an argument meant to rebut Uyesugi's insanity defense.

''He did not want Xerox to fire him and he didn't want those men in that room to have the satisfaction of seeing him lose his job,'' Carlisle said during opening statements.

''So he pumped 25 bullets into unarmed men and deliberately, methodically and maliciously became a mass murderer,'' he said.

Uyesugi's attorneys did not deny that their client was the gunman.

However, the former copier repairman had a ''serious, long-standing and deeply ingrained'' mental illness that manifested itself through ''delusions and distorted thinking,'' attorney Rodney Ching said.

For example, Uyesugi saw ''dark shadows around his home,'' Ching said.

''He also suffered from the sensation of being poked in the head. The only way he would get relief would be to pick up an object ... and poke back at it.''

Uyesugi's erratic behavior - including threats against co-workers and an arrest for damaging a downtown office elevator after arguing with a customer - was addressed during evaluations by Xerox and mental health experts beginning in 1992.

During those evaluations, Uyesugi said he was being spied on by the FBI, CIA and his co-workers, and those co-workers were sabotaging his copiers and their spare parts, Ching said.

''Mr. Uyesugi was suffering from a serious mental illness on the day of the shootings,'' Ching said. ''And as a result of Mr. Uyesugi's mental disorder, he lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the shootings.''

Uyesugi faces one count of first-degree murder for the multiple killings, seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the second degree for allegedly shooting at an eighth man, who escaped.

If convicted, he faces a maximum life imprisonment without parole. Hawaii does not have the death penalty. If acquitted by reason of insanity, he could be confined at the state psychiatric hospital in Kaneohe.

After the shootings, three court-appointed examiners said Uyesugi suffered from schizophrenia and delusions of persecution. But those experts said Uyesugi knew right from wrong.

Carlisle argued that Uyesugi - a high school sharpshooter who owned 11 handguns, five rifles and two shotguns - was fully responsible for his actions Nov. 2.

''He stood over the men as they were on the floor, on the ground already struck down by bullets, completely defenseless, and shot into their hearts to make absolutely certain there was no chance any of them had at survival,'' Carlisle said.

''Why kill? Anger and hate. He was angry at Xerox because he thought they were constantly messing him and constantly looking for reasons to fire him,'' Carlisle said.

''He hated his co-workers because he thought they made him look bad.''

Jurors visited the scene of the shootings Monday afternoon. The trial resumes Wednesday and is expected to last about a month.


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