HONOLULU A copier repairman who shot seven co-workers to death in Hawaii's worst mass killing was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday by a state court jury that rejected his insanity defense.
Byran Uyesugi, 40, who prosecutors said was a vengeful Xerox Corp. employee when he opened fire at company offices near downtown Honolulu last Nov. 2, faces life in prison without parole when sentenced on Aug. 8.
Hawaii has no death penalty, and the life sentence is mandatory for a first-degree murder conviction.
It took the Circuit Court jury only 75 minutes to render guilty verdicts on seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder.
Uyesugi sat stone-faced as the verdict was read before a courtroom packed with relatives of the victims, all men. His attorneys never disputed that he shot them but claimed he was insane at the time.
Prosecutors said Uyesugi went on his rampage because he feared Xerox would fire him, but the defense argued that he was delusional and haunted by demons for 10 years.
"He really didn't have any reaction," defense attorney Jerel Fonseca said after the verdict. "I'm assuming he cares about the outcome, but there was no outward reaction."
Fonseca said he was not sure if the verdict would be appealed, or even if Uyesugi wanted to appeal. He said he hoped Uyesugi would receive treatment if he is sent to prison.
"I think he still doesn't fully understood what he's done," Fonseca said. "And when a person doesn't understand what he's done, he can't show remorse."
Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said he was not surprised by the short deliberation. "You have to look at how strong this case was, and it was a strong case," he said. "I'm absolutely pleased by the outcome, but it is profoundly inadequate to address what was lost."
In 10 days of trial testimony, the defense used three expert witnesses. It was hoped that they could convince jurors that Uyesugi did not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct, which is the legal definition of insanity. The prosecution called five expert witnesses to counter that claim.