Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was ordered held without bail in federal court in Honolulu Thursday after a brief detention hearing. Kang’s court-appointed attorney Birney Bervar did not contest his client’s detention but said after the hearing that he will ask for a mental health evaluation.
A “turning point” for Kang’s mental state seems to be a 2011 deployment, Bervar said: “He’s a decorated American soldier for 10 years, goes to Afghanistan and comes back and things start going off the rails.”
Bervar said his client may suffer from service-related mental health issues of which the government was aware but neglected to treat.
“It looks like rather than helping him, the government exploited and took advantage of him,” Bervar said.
“Kang’s military training, weapons abilities and personal combat skills, coupled with his strong stated desire to kill people in the name of Islamic State, makes him one of the more dangerous criminal defendants to have been charged in this judicial district,” prosecutors wrote in a motion asking that be held without bail.