Man found mentally fit for trial in acid attack

Sebastian Mahkwan, one of two men indicted in a murder-for-hire plot in the Jan. 23 acid attack on a Chinese-language teacher, was found mentally fit Monday to stand trial.

Mahkwan, allegedly hired by a second man, was charged in a March 12 superseding indictment with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree attempted murder and/or attempted second-degree murder and/or first-degree assault, for the attack fronting Planet Fitness near the Ala Moana Center of a 25-year-old woman.

Danying Zhang, a Chinese national teaching Mandarin at Maryknoll Schools, suffered substantial risk of death, with oral injury that compromised her airway, and suffers permanent disfigurement from burns to her face and body and anticipated impairment from skin grafts, the indictment says.

Judge Ronald Johnson heard the matter Monday and found Mahkwan fit to stand trial after considering the reports of three examiners, who found him able to understand the proceedings and assist in his defense, and that he has sufficient present ability to consult with his attorney “with a reasonable degree of ra­tional understanding,” the judge wrote.

Johnson ordered Mah­kwan to remain in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center without bail. The case moves forward to trial, which is now set for the week of Aug. 12 before Judge Faauuga Tootoo.

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