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The Massie case aroused strong emotions among Americans and Hawai`i residents and won the Islands notoriety and national press coverage. A group of "local boys" allegedly raped Thalia Massie, a 20-year-old Navy wife, September 12 as she wandered through an undeveloped section of Waikiki. Police quickly took several young men into custody. January 8, 1932, Thalia's mother, Thalia's husband Lieutenant Thomas Massie, and two other accomplices decided to take justice into their own hands. They kidnapped Joe Kahahawai, one of the five charged suspects, and killed him. In their murder trial, famous defense attorney Clarence Darrow represented the Massies. They were convicted April 19 of manslaughter and sentenced by the court to 10 years of hard labor. Governor Lawrence Judd
commuted their sentences to one hour served in his office, adding fuel to an already racially charged atmosphere. Events and outcomes of the Massie case divided Hawai`i along racial lines for years afterward.
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