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Suspect Charged in 2020 Aloha Estates Murder

December 14, 2021, 4:46 PM HST
* Updated December 14, 6:04 PM
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Hawai’i Island police have arrested and charged 60-year-old Donald John Needham, of Pāhoa, with the 2020 shooting death of his neighbor in Aloha Estates.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 14, after conferring with County Prosecutors, Needham was charged with second-degree murder. He remains in police custody in lieu of $1 million bail. His initial court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow, Dec. 15, in South Hilo District Court.

The 34-year-old victim, Andrew Cawley, was initially reported as a missing person on Dec. 28, 2020, after family and friends reported not seeing or hearing from him in several days.

On Jan. 5, 2021, the investigation was reclassified to murder after Cawley’s body was discovered buried in a shallow grave on his Aloha Estates property.

Area I Criminal Investigation Section personnel responded to the scene to continue the investigation. The remains were exhumed from the shallow grave and transported to the Hilo Medical Center. The remains appeared to have been buried for over a week.  

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An autopsy was later performed and the forensic pathologist concluded that Cawley died as a result of a gunshot wound to the torso, and the manner of death was ruled homicide. 

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Police ask anyone who may have information relative to this investigation to call the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311 or Detective Jeremy Kubojiri of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 808-961-2378 or email [email protected]. Citizens who wish to remain anonymous can make an anonymous tip through the islandwide Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300 and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers does not record any calls or subscribe to caller ID.

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