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Volcano Man Indicted in Connection to Reported Murder of Neighbor

December 20, 2021, 1:28 PM HST
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A Hilo Grand Jury returned an indictment on a Volcano man facing a murder charge in connection to the death of his neighbor in 2020.

Sixty-year-old Donald Needham was indicted on Thursday, Dec. 16, on second-degree murder. He was initially charged in Hilo District Court on Wednesday, Dec. 15, after he was taken into custody by Hawaiʻi Police Department. Needham is currently being held on $1 million bail.

The case is now committed to Circuit 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.

Needhamʻs charge stems from the investigation into the murder of his neighbor Andrew Cawley. The family reported the 34-year-old man missing on Dec. 28, 2020.

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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.

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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.

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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