Crime - Sacto 911

Defense: County contacted about elderly man, wife before her fatal stabbing

Masaharu Ono, 90, is charged with killing his wife, Hiroko, 83 on June 9.
Masaharu Ono, 90, is charged with killing his wife, Hiroko, 83 on June 9. aseng@sacbee.com

Sacramento County’s adult protective services was contacted regarding the welfare of Masaharu Ono and his wife in the months before Ono allegedly stabbed her to death, Ono’s defense attorney said at a Friday court hearing.

Sacramento County Deputy Public Defender John Perkins has subpoenaed a record of the contact, he told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Bunmi Awonyi at the brief hearing.

The agency declined to comment specifically Friday, saying records are confidential. The agency would neither confirm nor deny that services were provided to the Onos.

Ono, held on the Sacramento County Main Jail’s medical floor since police arrested him on suspicion of murder in the June stabbing death of his 83-year-old wife, Hiroko, will return to court Oct. 9. Attorneys in the case continue to wait for results of Hiroko Ono’s autopsy.

Perkins had at earlier hearings voiced concerns that Ono, who turned 90 in custody, may suffer from dementia. A neighbor at the south Sacramento mobile home park where the Onos lived after retiring from the Bay Area said both Onos appeared to show signs of an early form of dementia.

Ono had tried to call 911 the morning of the deadly incident before going to the mobile home park’s manager, who called dispatchers.

Sheriff’s deputies and coroner’s staffers arrived at the couple’s home to find Hiroko Ono’s body.

Ono had initially denied the stabbing, but then told deputies he dragged his wife into their bedroom and covered her with a blanket, said prosecutors in their complaint.

Hiroko’s violent death and the frail man accused of committing the crime shocked and baffled those who knew them, with neighbors and a family member who spoke to The Sacramento Bee in June describing Masaharu Ono as a “very gentle” man in a couple that rarely fought.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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