Honolulu police identify man in connection to 1982 murder

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu police announced a 61-year-old man has been identified on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection to the death of a woman in September 1982.

Police say the initial investigation in 1982 by Honolulu Police Department (HPD) detectives was extensive but did not lead to viable leads.

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According to HPD, Thomas Garner, 61, was identified through DNA comparison in a separate case that allegedly links him to the 1982 death of 25-year old Kathy Hicks.

Garner was arrested in Florida after DNA evidence linked him to the 1984 killing of Pamela Cahanes. Cahanes, a Navy recruit, was found strangled and discarded on the side of the road in Sanford, Florida.

It was the DNA evidence from the Cahanes case that eventually linked Garner to Hicks, whose body was found in Nuuanu in 1982.

Hicks came to Oahu in 1982 from Georgia to participate in a company softball tournament.

She was found just days later along Nuuanu Pali Drive. She was strangled to death, just like Cahanes.

Fast forward to September 2017, a request was submitted to HPD’s forensic biology unit to process evidence from Hicks’ case, according to court documents.

It was not until January 2020 that a connection was made. A partial major DNA profile from an unknown male had been identified from the evidence on Jan. 10, 2020, according to court records.

A preliminary match to a suspect in a homicide was made four days later.

That suspect was identified as Thomas Garner on Jan. 23. He was already in custody for killing Cahanes.

Garner was sentenced to life in prison for Cahanes’ murder during the week of Monday, May 10.

Honolulu prosecutors will be pursuing the case against Garner in connection to Hicks’ death.

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