“The fates have decided so we have been given this privilege in writing you on this important matter. We presume you will be alarmed at first. Nevertheless we hope that you will get over this surprise soon and listen to the writers namely. What is it all about?”
“Your son has been kidnapped for ransom!” (Fukunaga; Sullivan; Cool)
Speculation ran rampant in the streets, but nearly everyone was convinced that it was a racial matter. It’s more than likely, they said among themselves, that the kidnapper is Japanese. Racial tensions began to heat up between the haoles and the Japanese. (Kawatachi)
“All Honolulu became a posse today seeking Gill Jamieson, 10, son of Frederick W Jamieson, vice president of the Hawaiian Trust Company, who was kidnapped yesterday and held for ransom of $10,000 under the threat of death.”
“Twenty thousand school children were released from their classes this afternoon to join in the search.” (Schenectady Gazette, September 20, 1928)
Here is what happened … “Under pretext that the boy’s mother had been injured in an accident, a man prevailed upon a teacher at the Punahou School to allow Gill to accompany him.” (Schenectady Gazette, September 20, 1928)
On Tuesday morning, September 18, 1928, Myles Yotaka Fukunaga, dressed as a hospital orderly, picked up Jamieson at Punahou School.
Earlier, school officials had received a call indicating that Jamieson’s mother had been injured in an auto accident and that an orderly was being sent to pick him up at school.
About one hour after picking him up, Fukunaga killed the boy, choking him to death after hitting him three times with a steel chisel. His body was left in a clearing of kiawe trees near the Ala Wai canal.
Fukunaga was born on February 4, 1909 in Makaweli, Kauai. He attended ʻEleʻele and Kapaʻa schools achieving the reputation as being very bright and eager to learn.
In 1924, when he was 15, Fukunaga and his family moved to Waialua. He attended Waialua Grammar School and graduated from eighth grade, top of his class. Eventually the Fukunagas moved to Honolulu.
To help pay the rent, Fukunaga and his father worked at the Queen’s Hospital as messenger and gardener, respectively. (Kawatachi)
While he was recovering from appendicitis and unable to work, his family was unable to pay its rent on the small house they occupied near the corner of Beretania and Alapai Streets.
A rent collector from the Hawaiian Trust Company visited the family in May 1928 demanding the immediate payment of $20 the family did not have and threatened to evict them.
Feeling somewhat responsible for the family’s plight, Fukunaga developed a scheme to kidnap Jamieson, partly in revenge against the Hawaiian Trust Company. (Niiya)
“After receiving a call at around 9:00 pm, the elder Jamieson followed the instructions in the note and brought the ransom money to the indicated contact point.”
“After turning over $4,000, Jamieson demanded to see his son before paying the rest of the money. The kidnapper agreed, but disappeared into the bushes and didn’t return.” (Niiya)
Fukunaga was apprehended a few days later coming out of a Fort Street adult establishment after the serial numbers on the ransom money were traced. He was arrested and later confessed to the murder. (Song)
Fukunaga was charged, convicted and sentenced to hang despite the fact that the entire trial lasted less than a week, his court-appointed attorneys called no witnesses on his behalf, and concerns about Fukunaga’s sanity were never resolved. (Nakamura)
“Executive clemency for Myles Fukunaga, convicted of murdering little Gil Jamieson, was asked of the Governor in a petition presented to him today by Robert Murakami, attorney for the condemned man.”
“Fukunaga was sentenced to hang for the kidnapping and murder of Jamieson. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which confirmed the verdict.”
“The petition asking for clemency was drawn up because many believed the youth to be insane. Insanity of the accused, however, was not established during the trial.” (San Jose News, November 9, 1929)
There was standing room only at Myles Fukunaga’s execution. (Theroux) He was hung at Oʻahu Prison on November 19, 1929, at 8:24 am. (Song)
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