Two Men Charged With 1977 Moiliili Murder - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Two Men Charged With 1977 Moiliili Murder

Toshio Kawano Toshio Kawano
Both were indicted on murder charges by an Oahu grand jury Both were indicted on murder charges by an Oahu grand jury
Toshio Kawano was murdered on September 26th, 1977 Toshio Kawano was murdered on September 26th, 1977
Kawano was murdered at Moiliili Bakery Kawano was murdered at Moiliili Bakery

by: Minna Sugimoto

(KHNL) - He was a husband and father working in his small Oahu bakery when he was murdered. That was nearly 30 years ago. Sometimes, justice takes awhile. The victim's family is finally feeling a sense of closure, after arrests are made in this cold case.

In a 1977 newspaper article, murder victim Toshio Kawano is described as the last samurai.

"It describes Mr. Kawano, his life, and talks about how much the community will mourn the passing," Mark Bennett, state Attorney General, said.

Roy Kawano says his father "was really passionate about his hobbies, like collecting samurai swords, and was willing to pass on his knowledge to anyone who came into the store."

But investigators say that's not what two men were interested in, when they walked into Toshio Kawano's Moiliili Bakery on September 26th, 1977.

"He was found shot 29 years ago in what appeared to be a botched robbery attempt," Bennett said.

Son Roy, who was 27 at the time, says he had just left the bakery on South King Street, after dropping dinner off for his dad. He soon got the heart-wrenching call about his 58-year-old father.

"It happened so fast, so sudden," Roy Kawano, murder victim's son, said.

"They were no eyewitnesses," Bennett said. "And for many years, the case lay dormant."

Now, 29 years later, an Oahu grand jury has indicted Melvin Kumukau and Aaron Meyer on murder charges.

"We appreciate all the efforts to keep the case open," Roy Kawano said. "Better late than never."

"We hope that this will bring some level of comfort to the family," Bennett said. "People may be gone, but neither they nor their cases are forgotten."

On Thursday, authorities arrested Kumukau, who was out on parole from a life sentence for unrelated attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping convictions.

Meyer was already in custody, serving a life sentence for unrelated robberies.

The Attorney General would not say what led investigators to the suspects. Both men are set to be arraigned next week.

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