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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 9, 2001

Inmates now suspects in '77 fatal shooting

By Jessica Webster
Advertiser Staff Writer

Honolulu police detectives believe they may have solved yet another mystery dating back to the late 1970s.

And the suspects are apparently already behind bars.

Toshio Kawano, 58, was gunned down in his liquor store Sept. 26, 1977. At the time, investigators believed that at least one assailant was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Kawano, who had carried a handgun in his waistband since a 1975 robbery.

Honolulu police Lt. Bill Kato said yesterday that investigators couldn't put enough information together in 1977, but a witness who came forward last year with new information bolstered the investigators' case.

"These men were suspects from a time shortly after this happened, but there wasn't enough for prosecution purposes," Kato said. "We referred the case to the prosecutor's office for review, and I understand they might be getting ready to do something with it."

Kato said one of the suspects is in prison in Hawai'i and another is behind bars on the Mainland.

He did not know what crimes the two men had been sentenced for.

Kato said: "Anytime you can close a case ... it's good for the department and good for the community."