By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
The murder of a Kaneohe liquor store owner that shocked the Korean community and grabbed the attention of the police chief appeared to have started from a botched Christmas Eve robbery that spun out of control, police said yesterday.
Police arrested four Kaneohe men on Tuesday and a fifth man last night in the investigation of the murder of Song Chol Marshall, 45, who was fatally shot in the head and found dumped in a Waimanalo trash bin on Christmas Day.
|Albert Hoapili Jr.
Of the suspects, Albert R. Hoapili Jr., 33, Gabriel Apilando, 30, and James K. Hoapili, 28, were each arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
The fourth suspect, Eric K. Vance, 31, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug.
Police last night arrested a fifth suspect, Shelden W. Barques, 31, and were looking for a sixth suspect.
The men have not been charged.
Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue declined to name the suspected shooter.
"Ive received calls from the Korean community, the Korean Grocers Association. We assured them that this case would be resolved, and weve resolved it," said Donohue, who is Korean American.
A relief for community
"For the entire community, its a relief. Especially for the police officers, its a relief that we have these people off the roadway."
Police pieced the case together through information obtained from street leads, CrimeStoppers tips and intelligence gathered from other police divisions, Donohue said.
Officers from the homicide, gang and Windward Oahu Crime Reduction Unit aided in the arrests of the suspects, Donohue said.
Preliminary information showed that one of the robbers may have known what time Marshall closed Angies Market on Kaneohe Bay Drive, but it didnt appear that the suspected robbery was highly organized, homicide Lt. Bill Kato said.
"It didnt appear to be a well-planned type of scenario," Kato said. "It looked like they were just cruising, and they saw him and (he) became their target. They went there with the intent of robbing him and for some reason · things didnt go as planned and they ended up shooting him."
The Marshall murder shocked the Korean community especially Korean store owners and prompted the Korean Grocers Association to offer a reward for information leading to the arrests of the suspects.
"The majority of Korean people feel it was a case that not only belonged to the Marshall family, but also to the community," said Joy Im, a radio reporter for Radio Seoul, Hawaii.
Im said Marshalls murder concerned the Korean community and worried many of the Korean liquor and market owners.
"Its their business, so theyre not only concerned about the Marshall family, but they also felt the danger," Im said.
Arrest is 'good news'
"Many (Korean) people do that business right now. Its all connected together. People are really sad about this whole case, but theyre probably going to be very relieved because of these police reports."
"(The arrest) is really good news," said Joanne Kim, who owns and operates P & L Drive Inn next to Marshalls store.
Like some residents who live near the store, Kim is curious to see whether any of the suspects are regular customers of the market.
Police said Marshall was last seen by a family member at about 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve leaving the liquor store in a white 2000 Chevrolet van. The van contained store items, trinkets mostly.
The empty van was found engulfed in flames in the Mapunapuna area about 3:50 a.m. on Christmas Day, police said.
"We normally dont see that type of burning evidence in a robbery case," Kato said. "Were still investigating. Were really not sure why they went through all the trouble."
Some 11 hours later, Marshalls clothed body was was found face down in a trash bin by the owner of Kenekes Plate Lunch & BBQ, 41-857 Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo.
Marshalls watch and wallet were not found. The medical examiner said Marshall died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Shortly after the murder, police conducted a roadblock in the Kaneohe Bay Drive area to find information about the case, Kato said.
Police recovered some of the vans items found dumped off Old Kalanianaole Road in Waimanalo, Kato said.
The investigation also uncovered a bag believed to contain a weapon, but police need a search warrant to open it, Kato said. Kato said the suspects were all friends and hung out together in the Kaneohe and Kailua areas.
Police said anyone with information on the case should call Detectives Larry Tamashiro or Hal Fitchett at 529-3115, the homicide detail at 529-3078, or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.
Advertiser staff writer Eloise Aguiar contributed to this report.
[back to top]