The Isaiah “Ike” Shon Case

This is the 48th year since the unsolved, underworld-style killing of 54-year-old Bishop Realty and American Security Bank executive Isaiah “Ike” Shon. What the police call a “cold case.”

Shon was shot in the head and his body dumped at a Hawaii Kai construction site in April of 1972. It was classified “underworld style” because on the surface it looked like an obvious message: mess with us and this will be what happens to you.

But then something else came up. Investigators discovered that Shon had a romantic relationship with the wife of a prominent Honolulu attorney, and a Hawaii Kai journalist had seen a car stopped at that body site that night — the license plate seemingly matching that of one of the attorney’s sons.

But everybody who could have been involved had an alibi. Shon’s car had been left, lights on, at an entrance to a school by the Marco Polo condominium, where he had an office. $100 in a money clip was found, but not in his pocket. It was on the seat of the car.

The investigation petered out and the case was filed away. Then Charles Marsland was elected city prosecutor and began looking into murders that could involve high level people. His chief investigator went to pull the Shon file at HPD. It was empty!

So that was that. As Honolulu Advertiser reporter Gene Hunter noted, it was one of several homicides HPD’s murder squad dropped in those years.  A clean getaway by the killer in a case that should have been a slam dunk for experienced homicide detectives.

Why did HPD say the murder of a respected real estate man bore similarities to underworld killings? If police knew or suspected the answer to that obvious question, they weren’t talking to journalists or the public. Who could have stripped the file of all the gathered evidence? HPD didn’t know. Was the killing personal revenge over an affair or payback for some business deal gone bad? Never answered.

You got the feeling that HPD never wanted to ask or answer many questions. This one was a hot potato! It could have led to one of the most prominent people in Hawaii’s political and union history.

Can the case be revived? Doubtful without that file. One of the principal suspects is dead. The other has a clean record as a local lawyer, married and with a family.

Somebody knew something and anonymously called the Honolulu Advertiser to share some information, but then got cold feet and could not be reached to tell more.

I figure you never know — that person might still be alive, maybe with a bad conscience.

Maybe I’ll get a message tip.

But is the killer still alive? There’s some reason to suspect it was the husband of the unfaithful wife who did the shooting with his son’s kidnapping assistance. The husband is dead. The son is alive.

Isaiah Shon’s remains occupy a prominent gravesite at Oahu Cemetery.


Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

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