Pahoa man delivers bizarre monologue during murder sentencing

  • Sean Rutledge, center, appears with attorney Jeremy Butterfield, right, Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court. (JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald)

HILO — A Pahoa man who stabbed his mother to death three years ago in lower Puna told the judge during his sentencing Tuesday morning that he had “attained immortality” and said he is the Antichrist.

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto sentenced 43-year-old Sean Alan Rutledge to a mandatory term of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

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A jury on Sept. 27 found Rutledge guilty of second-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of his 63-year-old mother, Nadean Rutledge, on Aug. 25, 2015. Her naked body was found under a sheet on the side of her home at the corner of Kapoho Kai Drive and Wai‘opae Road in the Kapoho Vacationland subdivision, which was overrun by lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone eruption in early June.

“The prison term is appropriate given the nature of the offense and, in the court’s view, the defendant is a danger to the community,” the judge said.

Nakamoto also denied separate defense motions for acquittal and a new trial.

Rutledge is a former attorney who was disbarred in New York under the name Alan Frank. He was allowed to resign from the practice of law in California instead of facing disbarment hearings.

In 2012, the Orange County Superior Court entered a $37.7 million judgment against United Law Group, co-founded by Rutledge and businessman Damian Kutzner, for duping mortgage-relief clients. By then, the firm was in bankruptcy, and about 1,700 class-action claimants received only about $90 each.

Three mental health professionals found Rutledge, who displayed odd behavior at numerous court proceedings, fit to stand trial in the murder case.

When asked by Nakamoto if Rutledge wanted to address the court, he responded with a lengthy, rambling, bizarre monologue with what appeared to be intentionally improper verb usage.

Rutledge mentioned “circumstances involving the federal government … pursuing some type of prosecution against I, Sean Alan Rutledge, regarding law practice in the state of California” which would involve a state plea deal in which Rutledge would plead guilty to manslaughter for his mother’s death.

“I refused. I am not guilty of any criminal offense,” Rutledge said.

“On the day of the event with Nadean Rutledge, there were an actual altercation,” Rutledge continued. “The altercation that occurred were not serious. There were, uh, a argument. There were a physical altercation. A neighbor walking by approached and demanded that I leave the location … that I leave the supposed victim there. And I proceeded, as there was some type of hint of domestic violence circumstance, and I perceived that the correct response was to leave the location.

“When I left, Nadean Rutledge were not seriously injured. There were no stab wounds to the head; there were no stab wounds to the back. There were no serious injuries. Nadean Rutledge were alive.”

Rutledge said that due to “disputes with the U.S. federal government” he had traveled to Hawaii from California “to leave the country.” He had a passport in his pocket when apprehended by police the morning after Nadean Rutledge’s fatal stabbing.

“I contacted foreign governments … because I had been seeking political asylum. … These matters related to issues during my legal practice in 2012,” he said. “… I, Sean Rutledge, attained immortality.”

“When I attained immortality, that became a circumstance that the U.S. federal government became very concerned with,” Rutledge asserted. “They attempted to direct harass me … and governments from around the world became involved.”

Rutledge also alluded to “additional components of my identity” including “the Antichrist” — at which point Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Hashizaki objected, and a bench conference was called.

After the lawyers returned to their tables, Rutledge said, “There are no possibility of being confused or delusions. I’m not mentally ill. There are no mental illness. I passed the mental, psychological evaluations, and I have passed those before.

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“I, Sean Alan Rutledge, am immortal and that are a circumstance that are not deniable.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.