Short URL for this page:
I had been complimenting myself upon how smoothly everything was going in Hawaii between the Navy and the Territorial Government. My personal relations with the Governor, Lawrence Judd, and all the principal administrators were most congenial and cordial. Judd was an enthusiastic deep sea fisherman, and he and I frequently went out in a mutual friend's motor sampan to different parts of the island to fish. On these excursions there developed most friendly relations between us. Our Navy planes had often flown the Governor to the several islands on official and semi-official missions, and I frequently accompanied him. General Lassiter and General Wells of the Army, Governor Judd, and I had held many informal and constructive talks upon the needs of the defense forces in which the Territorial Government was not only interested but could assist us, and it seemed we had established a common basis of understanding on many subjects that had for a long time been in controversy.
Then one day these beneficial relations between us that had been developing during the year suddenly were smashed to pieces. The day the blow fell opened like any other. The sun was shining, the cool trade winds were blowing, the flowers everywhere were giving off their delicious fragrance, the doves were signaling their mates with their melodious calls, the air station on Ford Island opposite my house was launching its planes for routine flights to the various islands, and the little submarines were backing away p245 from their piers to submerge in the blue waters outside the lochs. Life seemed just as joyous as ever with no hint of change in the outlook.
I had just arrived at my office when I was told Captain Ward Wortman was on the phone from the Submarine Base.
"Admiral, something terrible has happened," his voice was choked with emotion and horror, so unlike this energetic, happy person. "I'm on my way over to see you immediately."
I hung up the phone. What could it be? For the life of me, I could not imagine. I thought of all the terrible things possible to happen. The sinking of a submarine; an explosion in a submarine; and almost everything but what Wortman was on his way to tell me. He burst into my office. His usual jovial face was as white as the coral sand on the beach outside and the hand holding the inevitable cigarette was shaking violently as he lit it before seating himself.
"My God, Admiral," he exclaimed, "Mrs. Massie, that kid bride of Lieutenant Tommie Massie, one of my officers, was criminally assaulted last night about midnight by a gang of half-breed hoodlums on the Ala Moana." His voice was trembling violently. "She's in the City Hospital prostrated and seriously hurt. The police believe they have five of the criminals in the city jail."
Wortman knew no details except that it had happened. I was aghast. I knew Thalia Massie as a friend of my daughters, one of the younger set, demure, attractive, quiet spoken, and sweet, minding her own affairs. I knew her to be the daughter of prominent people in the Eastern States, raised in a cultured American home. God, what an awful thing to happen to the delicate girl! Then my mind suddenly switched to the thousands of young officers, sailors, and marines on the Naval Base and in the ships, who as American youth had been taught to hold the honor of their women sacred. What would happen when they learned of this terrible crime against a defenseless woman of their own race by half-breed ruffians? Wortman seemed to have read my thought.
"I have stopped all liberty from the Submarine Base," he told me, "until we can find how things stand. I hope you approve. Of course we can't keep it a secret. Rumors are out already in the city." I indicated my approval of his action.
"Wortman," I said, "our first inclination is to seize the brutes and string them up on trees. But we must give the authorities a chance to carry out the law and not interfere. The case must take p246 the usual legal course. It will be slow and exasperating to us. We must all be patient."
Wortman left the office. He was on his way to the hospital to see Mrs. Massie.
I went uptown at once and saw the Mayor, Fred Wright, and the acting Governor, R. C. Brown. The Governor was on another island but flew back at once. They promised quick and positive action.
Together with the Patrol Officer, Lieutenant Commander Bates, I went to see the District Attorney. The case was being investigated by an assistant who would try the case in court. The District Attorney was too deaf to conduct a trial. From him we learned all the details so far known. Here was the story unfolded by the young lawyer, who had been up all night and was actually shaking in his boots at the enormity of his sudden responsibility.
Lieutenant Massie and his young wife had dined at the Ala Wai Inn with a small party of young naval people on the night of September 12, 1931. Thalia Massie suddenly decided to leave the Inn and go for a stroll alone. To get air. The heat was oppressive in the Inn, where a large crowd were eating, drinking, and dancing.
Unconscious of the terror that lay before her, she walked up Kalakaua Avenue, turning into John Ena Road. When halfway along that road, she was suddenly aware of a motorcar behind her. It stopped, and two dark-skinned men jumped out and seized her. She struggled and screamed. The strong brutes slugged her in the face, rendering her almost unconscious, and dragged her into their car. They kept striking her repeatedly, and one held a hand over her mouth to prevent her screaming further. In the car were three other men. When they allowed her to speak, she pleaded for mercy, offered them money, and told them she was the wife of a naval officer. They only laughed at her but took her purse. The car drove rapidly down the Ala Moana Drive. Mrs. Massie, still moaning and in great pain, was being held firmly on the back seat by the two ruffians. She had ceased struggling, for it only brought her more blows from their hard fists. She was in a state of terror and collapse when the car drove into the bushes and she was assaulted by all five of the brutes, one after another. After accomplishing their purpose, they released her and drove off. Mrs. Massie staggered to the drive, p247 where, fortunately in a few months, a passing car driven by white people came along and took her to her home.
After discovering his wife's disappearance from the Inn, Lieutenant Massie had been seeking her, more and more anxious, but he did not even imagine that anything so horrible had happened to his young bride. He arrived home shortly after she did. She had completely collapsed, but managed to tell her husband some of the awful details of her experience, and he at once phoned the police. This was about 1:30 A.M.
She had left the Inn at 11:40 P.M. Now, within two short hours, their joyous world had toppled about the heads of these two happy young people, never to be the same again.
How the culprits were caught is one of those mysteries that must be laid at the door of a kindly Providence: About 12:45 A.M. that night, only about an hour and a quarter after Mrs. Massie had left the Inn, an automobile with four dark-skinned men came in near collision with a car driven by a white man and his Hawaiian wife. One of the four men got out of the car and, with the remark: "Let me get that damned white man," approached the white man's car. The woman had jumped out and confronted the bully. She was knocked down by the man's fists. Then the hoodlum car drove off. But their license number had been read and at once reported to police headquarters. At 1:30 Lieutenant Massie reported the assault on his wife and the police began to hunt for the hoodlum car. It was found about three o'clock that morning, and all five who had been occupants of the car earlier in the evening were rounded up and placed under arrest.
That was as far as the Assistant District Attorney knew, but he left us, after refreshing himself with a bath and clean clothes, to follow up the case. I shall tell the circumstances in the sequence they reached me.
That afternoon the five men apprehended were taken before Mrs. Massie in the hospital. From her bed of suffering, without hesitation, she at once identified positively two of her assailants, namely, Chang, a Chinaman, and Kahahawai, an Hawaiian. These were the two who had first seized her, and Kahahawai was the one who slugged her, breaking her jaw.
The police succeeded in forcing an admission from them that five men were in the car at the time Mrs. Massie claimed the assault was made. They were Horace Ida and David Takai, Japanese; p248 Benny Ahakuelo and Joseph Kahahawai, Hawaiians; and Henry Chang, Chinese. All were citizens of Hawaii, and, in consequence, of the United States. Eventually Mrs. Massie identified all but one as her assailants.
Mrs. Massie, in the hospital, was in a terrible condition. She had a black eye, her nose was swollen and still bleeding, her jaw fractured in two places, and she was bruised about her body from head to ankles. (Later she ran a temperature as high as 104 degrees on account of infection from her jaw and was on her back for two whole weeks.) The doctor in attendance, fearing pregnancy, performed an operation. The London courts only recently have put the stamp of their approval on identical surgical practice rather than force a woman assaulted to bring into the world a child whose father must be a criminal.
Because of the physical and mental condition of Mrs. Massie, aggravated unnecessarily by the merciless publicity to which the case was subjected, the Grand Jury was unable to hear her testimony until six weeks after the assault. A true bill charging all five men with rape was returned the latter part of October. After the men had been indicted, there were announced as counsel for four of them William H. Heen and William B. Pittman. Mr. Heen was a Territorial Senator and chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, and Mr. Pittman was a brother of United States Senator Key Pittman. These two gentlemen were recognized as being among the foremost criminal lawyers of the Territory.
When I learned of the high legal support the defendants were having, I went to see the Governor and his Attorney General to appeal for the best obtainable legal talent to prosecute the case. The Territorial Government, I found, seemed convinced it was not necessary to obtain more expert lawyers for the prosecution. The answer when this, to me, vital question of legal talent for Mrs. Massie came up was: "There are no funds." This attitude more than any other aroused in me a maddening disgust for the way the case was being conducted. Quick action in my opinion was necessary, with prompt and adequate punishment, if the prestige of the whites in Hawaii was to be preserved.
Vain promises were made to me by Hawaiian organizations, such as the Chamber of Commence, for funds to hire lawyers to aid the prosecution. I was almost on the point of believing that Hawaii did not want a conviction. In spite of everything, the prosecution at the trial of these five men was in the sole hands of p249 the Assistant District Attorney whose boss was too deaf to be of any help to him. This young man was pitted against two of the best criminal attorneys. The trial began November 16, two months after the assault.
Mrs. Massie took the stand for the prosecution and told a story that could not be shaken. She bravely described the atrocious crime from the beginning to the end. After her identification of the men she accused, and her testimony that Chang and Kahahawai grabbed her and that Kahahawai had struck her in the face with his fist, breaking her jaw, she said in her testimony to the jury:
"I tried to talk to them to get them to let me go. They were holding me and every time I spoke they hit me. I told them my husband would pay them if they let me go. I told them I had money in my pocketbook and would give it to them. Ahakuelo turned and said: 'Take her pocketbook.' "
She was asked to explain how she recognized these men in the dark. She replied:
"It was not very dark, there are street lamps along there. Ahakuelo turned around from the front seat several times. I saw his gold tooth. He turned to see what was going on. They were holding me and hitting me. Once he told Kahahawai to hit me again. The next I saw of my pocketbook was in the Grand Jury room. Ida was driving. I noticed he wore a brown leather jacket. I saw his face when he turned halfway around on the Ala Moana Drive."
Then she fearlessly described the assault in detail. Mrs. Granville Fortescue, the mother of Mrs. Massie, had come out to the Islands to be with her daughter after the assault had occurred and was in the courtroom. She listened intently, never taking her eyes from her daughter's face. Mrs. Fortescue held her head high, almost regally, while her face was impassive, not showing the awful bitterness in her heart.
Mrs. Massie appeared unconscious of the many evil eyes upon her from some parts of the courtroom belonging to those who had been spreading almost unspeakable slanders of her to defame her character in the hope of destroying belief in her testimony to the jury. The cruel description she gave of her shame must have been a most nerve-racking ordeal. She continued:
"The car moved at •about forty miles an hour. It turned off the Ala Moana and drove among trees and bushes. The men on the p250 back seat who were holding me dragged me out of the car. They dragged me •about thirty feet."
She was asked how she recognized those who had assaulted her. Her answer was: "Chang had been sitting next me in the car. I knew him by his short sleeve polo short. I prayed and I heard his voice. He told me to shut up and hit me in the jaw." She stated that the Chinaman assaulted her twice.
After the terrible acts had been committed, the men pointed out the way to the road to the dazed girl, got in their car, and drove off.
The defense concentrated its efforts upon building up alibis for those accused.
The jury deliberated for ninety-seven hours before the foreman announced that there was no hope of an agreement on a verdict. The trial in my opinion and many others was a stupid miscarriage of justice which could have been avoided if the Territorial Government had shown more inclination to sympathize with my insistence upon the necessity of a conviction. I feel that a stronger will to convict those guilty would surely have brought justice. I was informed reliably that the vote of the jury began and remained to the end, seven for not guilty and five for guilty, the exact proportion of yellow and brown to whites on the jury.
The defendants were not men who might be given the benefit of a reasonable doubt. All were of shady character as their records showed:
Chang and Ahakuelo were indicted with three others, not connected with this case, in 1929, as constituting a gang who had criminally assaulted a Chinese girl. They were permitted to plead guilty to assault with intent to ravish, and each of the five was given at the time an indeterminate sentence from four months to fifteen years. Each was released after serving four months. Chang at this time was still at large on parole, whereas Ahakuelo, a local football star, was, at the instigation of persons connected with the local Amateur Athletic Union, granted a full discharge by the Governor on February 25, 1931, in order that he might represent the Territory in the National Amateur Boxing Championship Tournament held that year at Madison Square Garden, New York City. He did in fact so represent the Territory.
Kahahawai was tried the year before the Massie assault on a charge of first degree robbery committed in September, 1930, and given a 30‑day sentence. Of the other two men, there was p251 no evidence of criminal records, but all were known as bad characters by the police.
There was an element among the population in the island that seemed determined to prevent a conviction that might hurt Hawaii and her large tourist trade. It was much better, these people seemed to think, to sacrifice Mrs. Massie. The police department was seen to be divided against itself. Many police officers made reports to the two widely known defense attorneys instead of to the District Attorney's office. The son and daughter of a city supervisor testified in behalf of the defendants to assist in trying to establish alibis. A former supervisor of the city was a leading witness for the defense. This man was involved in a white slave affair at that time, but his case, although receiving publicity, never came to trial. Court records showed the witness at this very time was accused before the juvenile court of pandering, and by a fifteen-year‑old girl was accused before the same court of committing what amounts to statutory rape.
Before the case came to trial and all during the trial, the most revolting slanders were circulated about Mrs. Massie in Honolulu. There was no shred of character left her. These stories were all denied by her friends and by all the Navy personnel who really knew her, but they gained credence in the community through what seemed a well organized whispering campaign. The stories were carried to the mainland by the hosts of tourists. It appeared almost that Mrs. Massie was the one on trial and not the five defendants. She was helpless to counteract these malicious slanders in court because there was no shred of court evidence brought out to accuse her.
The malicious gossip, circulated so cleverly about Mrs. Massie after the crime had been committed, no doubt had its effect upon those members of the jury who voted not guilty, and also prejudiced officials of the Territorial Government against her.
In Hawaii the majority of every jury will be of Asiatic or mixed blood with a sprinkling of Hawaiians and whites. Ordinarily, civil justice can be obtained. In this extraordinary case the emotions of the races had been aroused to a pitch where sympathies were in favor of the accused men. Conviction thus was impossible.
There was no surprise that legal support for these five accused men would be forthcoming. Two were of Hawaiian blood, and it was to be expected that the acknowledged head of the Hawaiian p252 race, a princess of the blood, would give them financial support. Also the Hawaiian defendants were athletic heroes and had a large following among the populace. As gate receipt attractions, they might be given financial aid from managers of sport contests. The two Japanese could count upon support from their race in the Islands, for the Japanese in Hawaii are known to be both proud and clannish.
After the mistrial, public-spirited organizations in Honolulu held meetings to discuss ways and means of clearing up the case. Resolutions were passed and rewards offered for the arrest and conviction of the guilty. It was a good sign that substantial citizens were alarmed. The criminal assault of a white woman by five dark-skinned citizens of the Territory, the victim being the wife of an officer of the defense forces of the United States, had gone unpunished in the courts.
A great concern to me was that the families of the Navy personnel, officers and men, were scattered in the suburbs where there was practically no police protection. If the rowdy element could not be controlled, wives and daughters would be in danger in their isolated homes when the men were away on their ships. Women would not be safe on the streets at night. Quick and drastic action was important to discourage the wild hoodlum element that now seemed to be flouting civil authority. The Government, and the weak, inefficient, and politics-ridden police force, apparently were beyond their depth.
The failure of justice, for it was evident to me and many others that the defendants were guilty, the newspaper publicity, the evidence of conflict in the Police Department, and the injection of local political persons into the case aroused great popular indignation and alarm among all reputable people of the city. This feeling was intensified by the fact that, between September 12 and the mistrial, five cases of criminal assault or attempted assault on women of mixed or oriental blood had occurred in the community.
One of these cases involved a policeman of the city and a seventeen-year‑old girl of the Japanese race. The policeman was dismissed from the force, but there was no court trial in his case or in any of the other four. Further evidence of the appalling police conditions existing at the time came in a report of the city and county physicians, showing that forty cases of criminal assault on women had been investigated by the physicians at the Honolulu Emergency Hospital in the first eleven months of the year. This p253 did not represent the total cases, because many women, not desiring publicity, are known to go to private hospitals and family doctors after they have been assaulted or subjected to unsuccessful criminal attempts.
Another aggravation and source of some concern was the fact that since the five defendants were first charged, they were at liberty on bail furnished by their friends and supporters. Ahakuelo, the barefoot football star, each Sunday had appeared publicly in a game, and the following day his name had been blazoned in headlines on sports pages of Honolulu newspapers. The attitude of the five accused men was that they were the main actors in a spectacle staged for the benefit of the public.
The reaction among Navy personnel, intensely bitter against this travesty on justice, might have been more alarming if all had not been held under strict discipline. Knowing the five accused men were as free as air, I had half expected, in spite of discipline, to hear any day that one or more had been found swinging from trees by the neck up Nuuana Valley or at the Pali.
Through their officers, I had issued a warning to all naval personnel at the Naval Base that they must conduct themselves in a manner to permit the law to take its course and that severe punishment could be expected if anyone acted otherwise.
After the mistrial I am convinced that this warning had its effect in preventing Navy men from taking summary action on the five defendants at large in the community of Honolulu.
When Ida, one of the defendants, was seized and severely beaten, I believe that the warning and the discipline our men were under prevented more drastic action upon him. The civil authorities tried to prove that Navy men were involved, without success, but I believed they had been. It was said that a confession was the object of Ida's seizure and that one had been obtained.
The severe criticism and disapproval on the mainland worried Territorial authorities no end, and the result was an appeal to me for my aid. News was flashed to the mainland that Hawaii was unsafe for women. That was serious, for it might injure the tourist trade upon which Hawaii greatly depended for a source of revenue. I was asked by the acting Governor to make official denial, which I refused to do. I told him that, in fact, I subscribed to that belief and until I could see some evidence that the rotten police situation had been cleaned up, I would publicly give that as my opinion.
p254 The older inhabitants and even those in political offices openly began to express fear for their womenfolk. The Attorney General, Harry Hewitt, told Mrs. Fortescue that he never left his wife at home alone at night. Clashes between the hoodlum element and Navy men, which the police saw only one way to control, by arresting the Navy men, were reduced in number by the latters' forbearance. Mayor Fred Wright of Honolulu and Sheriff Gleason begged me to increase Navy patrols. Our patrols were far out of proportion and seriously crippling naval work. If I had the men, I told them, I would be glad to take over the entire protection of the community. To give a larger feeling of security to the isolated Navy people, I established more foot patrols of sailors and assigned Navy radio cars with sailors in districts where many Navy families dwelled. I insisted they be given the same authority as policemen and could shoot to kill without being tried for murder.
Territorial authorities now were awakening to the seriousness of the situation they themselves had created. The best detectives were put on the Massie case, or the Moana case as it was officially called. Funds were voted by the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce and $5000 was offered for the conviction of the crime against Mrs. Massie. An eminent lawyer, Frank Thompson, of Honolulu was engaged to aid the District Attorney's office. The horse having been stolen, the stable door was to be locked. The offer of reward was mere face saving, for all knew, even the Chamber of Commerce, that the five men accused and once tried were guilty of the crime.
My condemnation of the police and jury system had forced a reorganization of the police force. Under the new law just passed by the Hawaiian Legislature there was to be an appointed board of police commissioners. Later, a more equitable method of selecting and challenging jurors was put into effect. Yet with those reforms I did not believe the five defendants would be convicted.
One thing that would likely bring another mistrial was the almost universal lack of sentiment against the enormity of the crime of rape. I warned the people, through the instigation of the press, that when men and women, who hold that crime even more serious than murder, are convinced that there is no safety for their women from attacks by the brute element that cannot p255 be controlled, and furthermore have conclusive proof from this case that not only will protection not be given to women but also that the perpetrators of such acts will not be punished, then those people must be expected to take measures to protect their women in their own way. Admiral Pratt, acting Secretary of the Navy at that time, similarly warned the Governor of Hawaii.
In all the seriousness of the situation, the women showed a rare sense of humor when they decided they would carry revolvers for their own protection. Authorities did not dare refuse licenses and gun shops did a thriving business selling miniature automatics small enough to go into a woman's handbag. It was not an uncommon sight to see ordinarily timid women proudly display their weapons to each other and challenge each other to pistol matches on the beach.
I had made many demands upon Governor Judd and Attorney General Hewitt to have the five defendants locked up. This was refused because they claimed it was illegal to raise bail above what an individual could pay. These cutthroats had no money. Their bail was being paid for them by their friends and supporters. The men remained at large, laughing openly in the faces of decent people and flaunting their triumph by visiting resorts patronized by naval personnel.
I felt in my bones that something must break. In fact I wished for anything that would give me cause to take an active part in bringing these criminals to justice, whom we all knew were guilty. Tension was mounting higher and higher.
Another fateful morning dawned in this perplexing ordeal. About 10 A.M., January 8, 1932, I walked briskly across the wide lanai of my house and down the steps to my car. It was one of those beautiful Hawaiian days that awakened one into a delightful sense of the joy of living, and made one forget the very existence of sordid people whom a trusting Providence had permitted to exist on these heavenly islands. I had made an appointment with the Governor and his Attorney General for the purpose of discussing the retrial in the Ala Moana case. The Territorial Government had expressed a wish to postpone the trial until after the visit of the Fleet. I was determined to do all in my power to hasten the trial so that Mrs. Massie and her husband could leave the islands that had been to them such a bitter source of sorrow and humiliation.
p256 I was already in my car when my orderly came hurriedly out of the sentry box and called to me breathlessly:
"Admiral, the patrol officer, Lieutenant Commander Bates says it's most important he speak to you. Something has happened that you must know about before you leave."
I stepped out of the car and hurried to a phone in the hallway of the house. "What is it Bates," I asked.
"Admiral, Kahahawai has been kidnaped by white men in a car from in front of the courthouse scarcely an hour ago. The police are hunting for them. I believe it was done by Massie."
After telling Bates I was on my way uptown, I hung up.
Something was breaking with a vengeance. Had Massie the nerve to snatch Kahahawai from under the very nose of the trial judge? It did not seem like him. To me he had seemed so mild and self-effacing. I broke all speed limits getting to the Governor's office in the old Hawaiian Royal Palace.
I found the Governor ghastly white and shaking with emotion. He exclaimed as I entered his office:
"They have murdered Kahahawai. Lieutenant Massie and Mrs. Fortescue have been arrested in a car with his dead body and they are now in the office of the District Attorney." Then he blared at me: "That's the result of encouraging a disregard of our laws."
I believe I smiled. Of course I realized he was attempting to connect me with the killing of Kahahawai. I replied:
"I've been expecting something of the kind. You would insist upon letting these criminals loose instead of keeping them locked up for their own security." Then I added as his livid face confronted me. "The killing of one leaves four for the retrial. That's what I came to see you about."
"They have killed one of my people," he exclaimed. "I'll bring these murderers to trial immediately. I'm not interested in the Ala Moana case."
From the injustice of his remarks, I saw he was in no mood for discussion, so I moved toward the door. As a parting shot, I said:
"Well lock up the ones that are left. It may save their lives."
I saw myself now thrown bodily into the conflict. From now on there could be no friendship between the Governor and me. Our viewpoints were as wide apart as the antipodes. I would have to do some fast working and thinking if the Navy people who had p257 killed this accused rapist were not to be confined for a long term of years in a disgusting and revolting Hawaiian prison.
At the District Attorney's office I found the young assistant who had failed to convict in the Ala Moana case. As I entered the room, he was questioning the two policemen who had made the arrests. He was trying to piece together the story of the capture. I saw Mrs. Fortescue seated, appearing almost at the end of her physical endurance, yet remaining proud and defiant. Massie was standing as was sailor Lord, both in civilians' clothes. Lord wore handcuffs. That enraged me.
"Take off those irons," I demanded. It was done without question. Why he alone was ironed I never knew.
I stood for a moment at Mrs. Fortescue's side and put an arm around her. My heart went out to this brave mother. Mine was a gesture of sympathy. I had daughters of my own. She understood, and I saw a tear travel down her pallid cheek; then she looked up and smiled, and I read in her strong face that she was undefeated and would fight for justice to the end. Then I turned to the Assistant District Attorney. He had stopped questioning as I entered.
"There will be no more questioning of these people until they can be represented by their lawyer," I said. He nodded his assent. He seemed to realize that a new element had been introduced into the situation. As the representative of the Navy, he knew I was there to insist on the rights of naval people. He was about to order the police to take the new defendants in custody. I said:
"They will go in my car and not to the jail."
We drove to the courthouse, and I demanded that the four accused people be given over to the custody of the Navy, insisting they were in danger of mob violence, for I had no confidence in the police to protect torment. , the trial judge, had no stomach to accept the responsibility for what might happen to them in the local jail and agreed readily enough with my proposal. I took the four to Pearl Harbor, quartering them onboard the station ship Alton, at the Submarine Base in the custody of Commander Wortman, who was made a deputy of the court by Judge Cristy.
Now every wheel of Territorial Government would begin to turn rapidly to bring the "killers," as they were called, to trial. The Ala Moana case had been dropped into the discard. An Hawaiian rapist had been killed by the family of the tortured girl wife p258 because they had felt that legal justice in these fair islands of the United States was impossible. Heretofore I had intentionally kept myself in the background, but now I knew most bitterly that Hawaiian justice could be obtained in these two cases only through some strong method of intimidation. It was up to me to take an active part, using all the power I could wield to head off a justice that would delight to send these four white people to a long term of hard labor in an Hawaiian prison, while the four remaining accused rapists, whom all knew had committed the crime, and one far worse than the mere killing of a degenerate sex criminal, would go scot-free.
The Grand Jury, composed of many men of the white race, showed strong reluctance to bring in a true bill against the killers of Kahahawai. The Jury's first report to the Judge on the charge of first degree murder was twelve to nine for no true bill. Judge Cristy released one juror who had been appointed a police commissioner and who had voted for no true bill. The next vote was eleven to nine for no true bill. If the Judge had accepted the first vote, which would have been legal, there would have been no trial.
The Judge then gave the Jury to consider second degree murder. Even then the Jury was reluctant to bring in a true bill on that charge; however, a well directed rumor from sources unknown, but believed to have emanated from Territory headquarters, was circulated among the jurors that if a true bill for second degree murder was brought in, the Navy men would be handed over by the court to the Navy for trial. This was absurd on its face but it had the desired effect and a true bill was rendered.
Having had brought home the absolute necessity of obtaining the most experienced legal talent, I advised the defendants in the Kahahawai case to obtain the best lawyers possible. Mrs. Fortescue concentrated her efforts upon obtaining Clarence Darrow from the mainland. We both felt that Island lawyers would be afraid to act freely for fear of losing their clients. I learned that Hawaiian lawyers were none too anxious to take the case. Darrow consented to act, and his help was financed by Mrs. Fortescue herself, with the aid of several wealthy friends at home. A small fund, about $7000, was raised by the naval personnel at Pearl Harbor for the benefit of the enlisted men accused.
All Hawaii feverishly awaited the trial. There was a new prosecutor, John C. Kelley, appointed in place of the deaf District Attorney, who would lead in the prosecution. He was known to p259 be a firebrand and an eloquent pleader before Hawaiian juries. Darrow and he would present the greatest contrast. Darrow, now an old man, gentle and human, almost Christlike in his attitude towards life, believed in creating an attitude of understanding and of sympathy. He would try to heal the breach that had opened between the races in these garden islands. It would be a Titanic struggle.
Naturally, I was most apprehensive of the result. I believed the defendants could count upon the white men on the jury to vote, under the circumstances, not guilty, but the Hawaiians and Orientals, of which the greater part of the jury would be composed, unquestionably, would vote in a block for guilty. They considered Kahahawai was a martyr who must be avenged.
From conversations with many prominent citizens, I realized that the greater majority of substantial residents of Hawaii did not desire to see these white defendants given a jail sentence. At the same time, they the effect of an acquittal upon the polyglot population. I did my best to reassure them that at least the Navy would welcome an excuse to take charge in case of disorders and preserve law and order if the Territorial Government and the police failed in that duty.
The jury was chosen. Each prospective juror had been looked up in advance by both the prosecution and the defense, especially with regard to their attitude toward the defendants. Slouching back in his chair, Darrow was in sharp contrast to John Kelley. Kelley was nearly fifty years younger than his legal opponent. He sat stiffly erect, alert, antagonistic, aggressive. He would dogfight with all weapons at hand. Darrow, his coat hanging loosely about his bony frame, breathed kindliness and sympathy for all. The courtroom seemed pervaded with his gentle, old voice. Its soothing effect upon that courtroom was miraculous to see. Slowly his voice was stamping out all bitterness. Would he be able to persuade the six jurors of mixed blood and cause them to believe that these defendants were not criminals but merely human beings fighting for justice against an inhuman system? A life had been taken, but was it a life worth saving?
The trial began on April 11, more than three months after the killing of Kahahawai. Kelley's object was to prove the killing was premeditated. He cited all the known facts: that Mrs. Fortescue had been at the courthouse the morning of the abduction. That p260 sailor Jones had shown the faked warrant to Kahahawai. That the rope used in tying up the body had been brought from the Naval Base. That two revolvers had been found by the police in the Fortescue house where Kahahawai had been killed. That in Mrs. Fortescue's handbag were found newspaper pictures of all five of the defendants in the Ala Moana case. Kelley said theatrically when telling of the purse which he placed in evidence: "We will prove that the woman who carried that purse was the woman who pointed the finger of doom at the unfortunate youth."
For three days nearly forty witnesses told their story for the prosecution. Darrow asked few questions. He made no attempt even to refute testimony contradicting the facts. The lawyers for the prosecution were: Kelley, Ulrich, and Cassidy, all from Honolulu; for the defense: Darrow and Leisure from the mainland, Winn from Honolulu, and Johnson from the Navy.
Lieutenant Massie was the first witness called by Darrow. Through this witness Darrow drew with bold certain strokes in somber colors the memory of that fateful night in September when the witness's young wife was cruelly raped by five unfeeling brutes. Massie told of the indifference of the community when he had sought help in the prosecution of the Ala Moana case, and how, not being able to afford a night nurse for his wife, he had acted in that capacity himself after his day's work at the Submarine Base was done.
Massie then told how Kahahawai was tricked by a false summons from the Sheriff when the former left the courthouse after making his daily report to the Judge, and taken to the Fortescue home, where, after much questioning, a confession was obtained from him. When Kahahawai suddenly broke down and exclaimed: "Yes, I done it." Massie testified he lost control of himself and shot him with the weapon that he had been using for intimidation purely.
The bloody body was then wrapped in a sheet and put in the back of the car, a blue sedan, and all the shades were pulled down. It was the intention to throw the corpse off the cliffs at Koko Head. If this had been successful, the body would never have been found; it would have been devoured by fish almost at once. Their failure to reach Koko Head with the body was due to the precaution of pulling down the blinds. Police cars were out in search. The blue sedan with the body held on the back seat p261 passed a police car in search. They noticed the police officers eyeing them very closely as they passed. Certainly the police could not stop and search every car. The police car was still going away. They were safe. No, the police car had stopped. With eyes in which there was uncontrolled fear, they saw the police car turn and speed back towards them. They were forced to stop, and the police car drew alongside. The body was discovered, and all four put under arrest. Lord only was handcuffed. He was an athlete, and the policemen doubtless feared him.
Then everyone was surprised when Mrs. Massie was announced as the next witness. The courthouse had been crowded before, but now the curious crowds extended far out into the street. Mrs. Massie's story of her terrible ordeal on the night of the Ala Moana outrage again was told. The first time, it was told in a court packed with dark, hostile faces who doubted the story's truth. Now the exact same story was being told, but to the listeners it seemed that the truth was self-evident. From where came this change? Was it caused by the gentle voice of Clarence Darrow, kindly and sympathetically drawing out from her the harrowing nightmare of humiliation, shame, and suffering, experienced by this young girl in delightful Honolulu and not far from a much-traveled thoroughfare?
Kelley's last bold attempt to break down this evidence of public sympathy towards Thalia Massie was the bringing into evidence of a paper which the witness claimed was a confidential document between physician and patient. Kelley declared it was not a physician's diagnosis. He was endeavoring to show that there was on that night in September a marital rift between the Massies. Mrs. Massie tore up the paper and strewed the pieces on the courtroom floor. Kelley's fury blazed out: "At last, Mrs. Massie, we see you in your true colors," he exclaimed.
Then Darrow dramatically rested the defense.
Barry Ulrich summed up for the prosecution, and George Leisure for the defense. They were both scholarly and concise. All now waited impatiently for the two Titanic figures in this contest for justice.
For four hours Darrow spoke. His words were broadcast and radioed to the people in faraway America. He may have failed to awaken a responsive in all twelve of the jurors in that court, but a jury in the United States, after listening to it, made p262 up their minds that these four defendants had been punished enough. They would not stand for further persecution.
Darrow said to me afterwards: "I could see that the greater part of the jury had closed their minds to any thought but conviction. When I gazed into those dark faces, I could see the deep mysteries of the Orient were there. My ideas and words were not registering." His eloquence, simplicity, gentleness, and the conciseness and legal accuracy of his wonderful mind were lost in most of that courtroom. Darrow's appeal was too ethical for most of them to understand. He ended his talk with a classic:
"I would like to think that some time not too far away, I might come back here with a consciousness that I had done my small part in bringing peace and justice to an island that today is wrecked and torn by internal strife. I place this case in your hands and ask you to be kind, understanding, considerate, both to the living and to the dead."
Then, after Darrow's gentle voice had died away another voice filled the crowded room, a voice not gentle but robust and arrogant. Prosecutor John Kelley's outrageous attack destroyed the effect of Darrow's kindly sentiments. He began by fairly shouting that Hawaii was on trial. He said:
"If Massie is given a walkout in this case, they will make him because he and Admiral Pratt (the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington) have the same idea on lynch law. Hawaii is on trial, and we want to keep that flag over our capitalº building without an Admiral's pennant on the staff. This is the most important case involving self-government ever to be given to a jury in the history of and under the United States flag. I say with Smedley Butler: 'To Hell with the Admirals.' "
The trial was finished. According to Kelley, the verdict would show whether or not Hawaii was fit for self-government, or at least that was the way I interpreted his words. Unfortunately, it was to be decided by a forum of the Orient and not by that of America.
Many hours elapsed. The six white men on the jury were yet fighting for white men's justice.
I was entertaining a foreign warship's officers in my house at the Base with a garden party. Darrow, Leisure, and Winn were all there. The Governor, although invited, sent his regrets. I p263 learned in confidence from the defense lawyers that a promise had been exacted from Judd that in case of conviction he would issue pardons at once. Had Washington so directed? Why had the defense lawyers even considered the possibility of a verdict of guilty? Would the white men on the jury bow to the dictates of the Orientals? How could we be sure that Judd would keep his promise?
Admiral Stirling and Clarence Darrow in Honolulu
Then, after the jury had been out many hours, I received word at the Base that the jury had come to an agreement and court would meet at once. I tore uptown in my car, jubilantly sure that if the jury had agreed, it could not be other than an acquittal. I reached the courtroom just as the court was dismissed by the trial judge, Davis. I needed only to see the faces of the defendants to have my hopes dashed. Mrs. Massie was in tears; Mrs. Fortescue held her head high, dry‑eyed. Guilty of manslaughter, I was told. My God, the penalty can be ten years at hard labor!
A newspaper man stopped me as we were all filing out of the courtroom: "Have you anything to say, Admiral," he asked.
"Not a damned word," I exclaimed; "what I might say would not pass the censor."
It developed afterward that on the charge of second degree murder there was a hung jury, divided in proportion to the whites and the darks. The foreman then obtained permission of the Judge to try manslaughter on the jury.
Here was where the Governor's fine Italian hand came in. In order to obtain a verdict of guilty, manslaughter was to be tried on the jury in the hope of a conviction which would finish the case, but something had to be offered to win over the stanch white men on the jury. A pardon for all four defendants immediately the sentence was given, and they would not have to enter an Hawaiian prison. The Governor had taken the defense attorneys into this secret.
The jury brought in a verdict of guilty of manslaughter and Judge Davis sentenced each of the defendants to ten years in the Hawaiian prison at hard labor. They were placed in custody of the sheriff with orders not to take them to prison. According to what I had been told by the defense lawyers, Judd had promised pardons to all. Instead, it was not a pardon that was handed out, which would have given them back their citizenship, but only a p264 discharge after an hour in the sheriff's court, the same that he had given Kahahawai to permit him to attend for Hawaii an athletic contest in New York. Judd was consistent to the end.
Ann Kluegel, a splendid type of patriotic woman who was the head of a civic organization for better government, was a great friend of Mrs. Fortescue and told me she firmly believed that the mother killed Kahahawai and not Massie.
I have often speculated upon this idea of Mrs. Kluegel's, and somehow I have wished she might be right. A mother's love is far deeper and self-sacrificing than that of a lover or a husband. A subconscious inhibition, the result of discipline, might have withheld a husband's hand, but not so with a mother as fond and proud as I knew Mrs. Fortescue to be. I believe a woman and a mother would hold ever in her mind the terrible, revolting, and degrading scene in which her own child had been compelled to take a hideous part by this great brown athlete and beast. Abstract justice under legal restraints would not stay her hand while this confessed ravisher stood before her, saying:
"Yes, I done it."
In his testimony at the trial, Massie had claimed, when he heard those words drop from Kahahawai's lips, that everything went black. He said he did not remember pulling the trigger until he found the hot, smoking revolver in his hand, and the confessed criminal lying dead at his feet, shot through the heart.b
When the mother heard the Hawaiian's confession, spoken, as it was testified, in a spirit of bravado, instead of everything going black around her, I believe she would see all the more clearly, not a human being, but a scorpion or a centipede to be exterminated. Does it not seem logical that a loyal mother would long have hoped for this moment? The confessed ravisher of her baby standing arrogantly before her. Would our world blame a mother if she had failed to resist the temptation to deal out a deserved punishment which the courts had been impotent to give? Even though the taking of a life was repugnant to her every principle, did Mrs. Fortescue seize the revolver and kill Kahahawai? I have always hoped so.
The Territorial Government was now in a dilemma. Feeling on the mainland had run high. The large majority of the American people had condemned Hawaiian officials for the manner in which the two trials had been conducted and the results. The p265 politicians must have known that now a conviction of the remaining defendants in the Ala Moana assault case would be impossible. They were not anxious for a retrial because they realized it would only stir up a hornet's nest anew. They were seeking a way out. Rumor spread that Mrs. Massie was unwilling to go through the horrible ordeal of a trial again. Here then was an opportunity for the politicians to escape further criticism and put the onus upon Mrs. Massie. If she refused to remain in Hawaii, there could be no trial.
All of a sudden, the politicians seemed, at least to outward appearances, most anxious to give Mrs. Massie every opportunity to prove the defendants guilty. All manner of promises were made to give her the best legal talent available in the prosecution of the case and a better and fairer method of selecting jurors had been established.
Mr. Darrow, who had become very fond of Mrs. Massie, in fact all of his clients, had advised Mrs. Massie not to stay for a new trial. Darrow's clear mind perceived that in this Oriental land of ours, a retrial of the Ala Moana case would be only a farce. He believed that Mrs. Massie and her mother had suffered enough, and he feared, as we all did, a nervous breakdown. Mrs. Fortescue was of the type that could stand more than the average, but there was a limit even for her iron nerve. She had hurried to her daughter's side as soon as she had learned of the assault. She had gone through the first trial and seen her own daughter humiliated in open court and her good name dragged through the sewers of malicious gossip in Honolulu. She had aided in the abduction and killing of one of the men who had assaulted her child.
The time was approaching for the arrival of the Fleet for an important maneuver to be held in the Hawaiian Islands. The Fleet was always a welcome visitor, for it brought millions of dollars in business to the merchants of Honolulu.
The new prosecuting attorney and I had several talks on the subject of the retrial of the Ala Moana case. The civil authorities were all for postponing the trial until after the visit of the Fleet. This would mean a delay for many months, and meanwhile these accused men, whom all the Navy believed to be guilty, would be free to flaunt themselves brazenly about the city, occasioning possible serious disturbances with thousands of our sailors on liberty.
p266 My opinion had been asked by the Navy Department of the advisability of canceling the maneuvers. I answered that nothing should be permitted to interfere with that and, if necessary, martial law should be declared on the Island of Oahu if the hoodlum element could not be controlled by the police. I further advised the Department that liberty should not be given our men in the city of Honolulu until after the retrial and conviction of the defendants in the Ala Moana case. The Department approved of these recommendations.
The Fleet arrived on schedule and held its maneuvers, but no liberty was granted the personnel in Honolulu and only those vessels that needed repairs at the base were sent to the Island of Oahu. In consequence, the business interests there lost amounts variously estimated up to eight million dollars.
Then, when it became known that Mrs. Massie and all her family would sail shortly for the mainland, the civil government began to make a great show of hastening preparations for the trial. I felt quite certain that was the very last thing the Territorial Government really wanted; so I was not unduly disturbed at the threat by the prosecutor, Kelley, to issue a legal summons upon Mrs. Massie to prevent her sailing. The failure to hold a retrial would be put upon Mrs. Massie's shoulders, but that would fool no one, for all the Navy felt that Governor Judd and his government would only breathe easy after the entire Massie outfit had left the Islands.
When the time arrived for the sailing of the , I determined to take no chances of possible mob violence, for the hoodlum element had threatened violence against the white defendants in the Kahahawai case, so I sent the Massie family by water from the base in a mine-sweeper directly alongside their ship in Honolulu harbor a short time before the ship sailed.
Captain Ward Wortman took all precautions to prevent the serving of a subpoena upon Mrs. Massie, but in some way it was thrown into her stateroom and was considered served by Territorial authority. No attention was paid to it, and no action was taken against Mrs. Massie for contempt in the Hawaiian courts.
I had been in complete agreement with Clarence Darrow as to the advisability of Mrs. Massie's leaving the Islands, and obtained from Washington orders for Lieutenant Massie to the States. If she had remained for a retrial, it was evident enough p267 that the best that could be obtained would be another hung jury. Due to the intensely hostile feeling caused by the killing of Kahahawai, even an acquittal was not beyond the bounds of probability.
In telling of these tragic happenings, after a lapse of nearly eight years, from my own knowledge and experience, I hope that there will be erased from the public's mind some of the wrong conclusions formed in this country after hearing those ugly stories of the Massies, in toto untrue and told with malicious intent.
The situation created in Hawaii by this crime against a white woman and the violent reactions therefrom produced sinister forces in that polyglot community of the Pacific, where the East and the West mingled but did not meet, sufficiently powerful to take the blindfold off the eyes of white man's justice and tie her healing hands. I am convinced that the Massie case and all that followed must not be passed off as a mere miscarriage of justice which has happened in many communities on the mainland. This remarkable case has produced reverberations heard around the world. It has been of transcendental interest everywhere that the so‑called dominant white race are governing the yellow, brown, or black races. The result of the miscarriage of justice in Hawaii has lessened the prestige of white peoples the world over, wherever they are in contact with the darker skinned people.
It happened at a time when the whites were divided against themselves. What made the situation all the more intriguing to the student of anthropology was that those who were upholding a white man's justice were not contending against orientals with an oriental outlook solely, but against people of oriental blood with a white man's intellect, acquired in white man's schools and colleges.
As all know who have traveled across the •2200 miles of ocean to Hawaii, the city of Honolulu caters to whites and dark-skinned peoples in equal measure. There are many hotels, the principal and most elegant being the Royal Hawaiian, as sumptuous as the best in New York, in a delightful tropical setting with the rolling surf of Waikiki Beach at the door. There are many restaurants patronized by whites, orientals, and Hawaiians alike. One of this type was the Ala Wai Inn, from which Mrs. Massie started out on that ill‑fated walk, the dramatic results of which, like the rush of a tidal wave, touched every distant shore.
p268 According to her friends who saw Mrs. Massie at the Inn, she had not been drinking but appeared absent minded and upset. She was doubtless displeased about something. Many people have severely blamed her for walking alone at that time of night in this part of the city, attributing sinister motives to her actions. The neighborhood has not a bad reputation. Kalakaua Avenue, on which the Inn is situated, is a thoroughfare. John Ena Road also is a thoroughfare from the avenue to Fort de Russy, an Army fort and post. On this road are an amusement park, many small Japanese shops, and at the far end a number of small bungalows rented to enlisted men of the Army and Navy.
Sheriff Gleason told me afterwards that there had been a number of cases of highjacking women on their way along the road to the bungalows by roving bands of dark-skinned ruffians in motorcars. Highjacking had become a pastime of the gangster element, and the police made little effort to stop it. As a rule, the women picked up by the highjackers were of Hawaiian or oriental blood and had been sent for by single men in barracks on the loose. Surely Mrs. Massie could not have known this. Probably this gang of five that assaulted Mrs. Massie were on a highjacking adventure.
Unfortunately corroborative evidence as to the presence of a car with five mixed blood hoodlums answering the description at this time and in this exact neighborhood was not available at the trial because the American sailors from a warship were afraid to give it. The sailors were absent without leave from their ship and did not realize at the time the importance of their evidence. The sailors were in a car, had exchanged insulting epithets with these natives, and had seen their car turn into John Ena Road. They had even contemplated following it for a fight. After the mistrial, the sailors came forward and told their story.
According to the prosecuting attorney, self-government in Hawaii had won in the conviction of Lieutenant Massie. To my way of thinking the conduct of both trials was similar and gave proof that the so‑called self-government defended by Kelley might be satisfactory to the politicians of Hawaii; but for islands that form our nation's lifeline in the Pacific, there was shown to be a higher tribunal that must needs be consulted: the great American people of the mainland. Here was an officer, ordered to the Islands by the United States Government to serve in the defense p269 forces. He is married and brings his young wife. The wife is criminally assaulted by Island citizens. The criminals are brought to trial and conviction found impossible. The criminals go free. The family of the martyred woman invoke the unwritten law for the crime of rape. They fail to kill all five, but succeed in sending to his God the most brutal and unfeeling. For this, four people are tried and convicted. They do not serve sentence because the Territorial Government was fully aware that if they had been sent to an Hawaiian jail, the people of the mainland would have torn their self-government to ribbons.
Hawaii has both suffered and benefited by the result of these two trials and the situation that produced them. The large community of Honolulu and the island on which it is situated has obtained a police force outside of the baneful control of politics. It has been purged of many of its incompetents. The Islands today are safer for women.
Hawaiian politicians of all races have been made to realize that the United States Government has a most vital stake in the Hawaiian Islands and that they must be governed in the manner of the mainland and not according to the ethics of the Orient. The dark-skinned citizens have been taught how far the American white man will go to protect his women from brutal assaults by men. There has been forced upon the Islanders a greater respect for the armed forces of the United States quartered in the Islands for their defense.
Hawaii is a land of sunshine and delight, and, after having passed through the shadows of those tragic times, has given to its citizens a fuller conception of their duties, not as citizens of Hawaii alone but as citizens of the United States of America, which comparatively few will ever visit. This suppressed volcano may have been smoldering for years. The tragic episodes and trials furnished the steam to produce an eruption of great violence.
Naturally, those in politics in Hawaii are dependent upon the vote of the dark races for their offices and feel they must consult their wishes. However, now they have been served with a warning that they must avoid stirring up ill feeling against the defense forces to gain political advantages, and create a situation similar to that of the Ala Moana and Kahahawai cases; or else our National Congress may become convinced that, after all, self-government in Hawaii is a menace to the nation's naval security in the Pacific Ocean and the sooner curtailed the better for the nation.
p270 Not boastfully, but merely to show that my stand in this baffling case did receive some favorable comment from Hawaiian newspapers of the highest standing, I am quoting two editorials published on my departure from Honolulu.
The first is from the Honolulu Advertiser:
When the liner Lurline sails tomorrow, it will carry on its passenger list one of the most popular and able naval officers ever to have served in Hawaii: Rear Admiral Yates Stirling, jr., who for three years has been in command of the 14th Naval District.
During his tour of duty as commandant, the relationship of the Navy in Hawaii to the civilian community became more firmly cemented, in spite of distressing episodes which, had a less able man been the head of the service in Hawaii, could well have brought about an estrangement. Part of the success of Admiral Stirling as the Navy's chief representative here was, naturally, due to his professional fitness for high command. Another part was due to the fact that no matter in what degree one might disagree with him, one could do not less than admire his fairness, honesty of purpose, and willingness to hear both sides of any question.
Under Admiral Stirling's administration "yes" meant yes, and "No" was a decided negative in Navy-civilian contacts. There was never any evasion of any issue, or any slight unwillingness to devote the Navy's energies and abilities to suit civilian need when occasion arose.
This community regrets the departure of Admiral Stirling and will remember him as an officer — and citizen — who typified all that was best and admirable in an officer of the United States Navy and in an American.
From the Honolulu Times:
Rear Admiral Yates Stirling, jr., for many years commandant of the 14th Naval District, is leaving Hawaii in the near future for other fields. His transfer is in the nature of a promotion, since he takes over the important Third Naval District at New York.c
Admiral Stirling is the sort of officer who will go up in his chosen profession. He is a clear thinker, a man of decided action, and one who is bound to have a very salutary effect on any community in which he may be stationed. Here in Hawaii p271 he was very much in the spotlight during the unfortunate Ala Moana case and the subsequent Massie trial. Unwaveringly he insisted that Hawaii was a part of the United States and that American standards and American methods must prevail in American communities. To him, more than any other man, Hawaii is indebted for the cleaning up of the rotten police situation in the largest city of this territory. Through it all he remained a friend of Hawaii, and doubtless he will carry with him that aloha for the Islands where he may be stationed in the future.
Hawaii will remember Admiral Stirling as a fine naval officer, a competent executive, and an outstanding American.
a Much of this chapter has been shown, several times by different investigations, to be essentially fiction — and not pretty fiction at that, with its highlights of the most appalling unabashed racial animus and prejudice, even for the time. In a nutshell, Thalia Massie — who had already suffered from psychiatric problems, would be divorced by her husband two years after the end of the trial, and ended her life many years later by suicide (after several attempts over the years) — probably wasn't raped, and if she was, it is completely certain that these five men were not the ones who did it, and they were eventually exonerated.
The best timeline of the case I've found online is that by Prof. Douglas O. Linder, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law, at The Massie Trials: A Chronology. That page is part of a detailed site on the trials (orientation page) with Thalia Massie's police statement, excerpts from the trial transcript, photographs of the principals, and much other material, including an excellent commentary by Prof. Linder and a bibliography: several books have been written on the case. An entirely different selection of photographs, better in quality and to me at least of greater interest, can be found on two pages, not linked to each other,
Three years after divorcing Thalia, Thomas Massie remarried, but with no better luck; in 1940 he was discharged from the Navy on psychiatric grounds. He died in 1987.
b It is not known who actually pulled the trigger; many years later, one of the other Navy men confessed to it. The city/county physician testified on the stand that Kahahawai was shot not in the heart but in the left lung.
c In fact, as Admiral Stirling acknowledges in the opening pages of the next chapter, the sideways move spelled the end of his career. The writer also glosses over his transfer out of Hawaii: and while it was perfectly normal for a high-ranking officer to be transferred after three years, at least one online source claims that Governor Judd asked the Navy Department to expedite the admiral's removal from the islands.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY if its URL has a total of one *asterisk. If the URL has two **asterisks, the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use. If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 1 Apr 18