Busy year for HPD homicide investigators as number of killings increases

Kamuela Kaleikilo
Kamuela Kaleikilo
By the numbers
By the numbers
Richard Robinson
Richard Robinson

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been a busy year for Honolulu police homicide investigators. The number of killings on Oahu has spiked from last year.

There are a few unusual cases that are included in the 2010 total:

A female who was assaulted in 2008 died this year.

Skeletal remains -- believed to be from the 1970s or 1980s -- were dug up at a Manoa home this year.

Also, police shot and killed a suspect wielding a machete in Waianae. That's also counted as a homicide.

Emotions ran high when family members of a homicide victim came face-to-face with the accused killer. Kamuela Kaleikilo was 22 years old, when he was shot in the head last New Year's Day.

"He'd give you his last shirt off his back for you if he had to," Noe Aguiar, victim's aunt, said through tears January 6. "That's the kind of guy he was."

It was Oahu's first homicide of 2010. Twenty-two more homicide cases would follow.

The number of slayings to date this year, 23, is nine more than for all of 2009.

It's also the highest in six years. There were 26 killings on Oahu back in 2004.

"Any time someone is killed in Honolulu, to us, we view it as a tragedy and something that needs our full resources to try to solve and bring closure to their family and friends," Maj. Richard Robinson, Honolulu Police Department, said.

2010 saw a woman with a reported history of mental illness being charged in the fatal stabbing of her mother, as well as two suspected marijuana dealers being accused of beating their partner to death, dismembering his body, and disposing of it in a trash bin.

"In almost all of our homicides, there's some sort of relationship between the victim and the suspect," Robinson said. "Random homicides in Honolulu are very, very rare."

Also in 2010, a woman and her teen daughter were gunned down in their home by a jilted man, who later took his own life, and another devoted single mother was stabbed to death in the middle of a street while trying to leave her boyfriend.

"Domestic violence usually accounts for about a third of our annual homicides," Robinson said. "It's been a problem that we're addressing."

Police say Honolulu's homicide rate is low compared to cities of similar size on the mainland.

Last year, Honolulu had 14 slayings. San Jose had 28 slayings. San Francisco had 45.

Very few killings on Oahu go unsolved. Honolulu police say they are known for having a high closing rate for homicide cases.

"Last year was 100-percent," Robinson said. "This year is 96-percent. We average in the high 80s to low 90s. Nationally, the closure rate for homicides usually hovers in about the 50-percent range."

Of this year's 23 homicides, police say only one has not been closed. How the bones wound up buried at that Manoa home remains a mystery.

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