This story intrigued me, and I wanted to share it with you.
The last person ever to be executed in the State of Hawaii was a 19-year-old nisei youth named Myles Yutaka Fukunaga.
The following info is from Downwind Productions and can be found here:
In September of 1928, 19-year-old Myles Yutaka Fukunaga abducted Gill Jamieson, the 10-year-old son of Frederick Jamieson, the vice president of the Hawaiian Trust Company. About an hour later, in a dense kiawe thicket near the Ala Wai canal in Waikiki, Fukunaga struck the child dead with a steel chisel. Later that night, he got $4000 in marked ransom money from Jamieson.
The abduction of the son of a prominent haole business executive shocked everyone. Police set up roadblocks, people were deputized at the National Armory Headquarters and organized into search parties. Many others, like the Boy Scouts and ROTC cadets joined the search for Gill. Most screamed for the death penalty to be applied to the kidnapper.
After falsely arresting and forcing a confession from Henry Kaisan, the former chauffeur of the Jamieson family, Fukunaga was caught trying to spend some of the ransom money. During his ride to the police station, the siren from the Aloha Tower sounded. Crowds jammed the streets of Honolulu to catch a glimpse of him and to demand the death penalty.
At the time of the abduction, Fukunaga was working 80 hours a week at a pantry job at the Seaside Hotel but this was not enough to allow him and his parents to escape poverty. Embittered by the contradiction between the material success promised to Americans’ and the reality of his family’s poverty, Myles attempted to fulfill his ‘American dream’ by kidnapping the son of a wealthy businessman.
During a brief trial in October 1928, Fukunaga’s court-appointed attorneys called no witnesses for the defense despite the fact that Professor Myrick wrote an open letter to Governor Wallace Farrington asking for consideration of the fact that Fukunaga "was not only highly abnormal but legally insane." On November 19, 1929, Myles Yutaka Fukunaga was hanged.
This is the book that I first saw the story in. It was published in 1985 by the Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. and was written by Roland Kotani. In an ironic twist of fate Representative Roland Kotani himself was murdered in 1989 by his wife.
This is Myles' gravestone. It doesn't have his name on it, but somehow it's known to be his. He is buried in the Moiliili Japanese Cemetery on the mauka side of Kapiolani Boulevard near Date Street. I took this photo. After I learned of the gravesite I went to look for it. I had mixed emotions standing before the stone . . . mostly I felt sad.
Born February 4, 1909 (Meiji 42)
Died November 19, 1929 (Shōwa 4)