By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 36-year-old Pahoa man was arrested Monday for allegedly killing a 54-year-old man in the Nanawale Estates subdivision on Sunday.
Police identified the victim as James V. Johns Sr. His body was found at his home at 14-722 Seaview Road in Nanawale Estates in Puna. An autopsy was scheduled for today.
“He appeared to be a landlord on the property, and he did reside on one structure on the property,” said Lt.. Greg Esteban of the Hawaii Police Criminal Investigations Section.
Jason Russell Jump was arrested without incident on Monday morning at 10:35 a.m. in Pahoa town, Esteban said. Police on Monday had released a bulletin indicating they were seeking Jump for questioning in the case. Esteban said that Jump was a tenant in another building on the property.
Jump was being held on suspicion of second-degree murder in the Hilo police cellblock. As of press time Monday evening, he had not been charged.
On Sunday at about 5:08 p.m., police responded to a call of a man with an apparent head injury in Nanawale. Officers discovered the dead man in his home and secured the scene for detectives.
“There was a witness who described what he called a commotion at the residence on that property,” Esteban said. “He eventually called police.”
Esteban said police found a weapon at the scene. He wouldn’t specify what the weapon was, but said that Johns did not die of a gunshot wound.
“There were severe head injuries; the post-mortem examiner will determine if there were any other injuries,” Esteban said.
Police haven’t released a possible motive for the killing.
“We’re still processing the scene. We’re in the preliminary stages; we’ve got some preliminary work to do,” Esteban said.
Neighbors said they knew Johns “only in passing.” None contacted by the Tribune-Herald knew him by name, but several said that he was confined to a wheelchair.
“I know he was a man in a wheelchair who was struggling to get a whole bunch of vehicles out from in front of his house lately. He had a couple of people helping him with that,” said Ross Kottwitz.
Kottwitz said he was shocked by the slaying.
“It was kind of like, wow,” Kottwitz said. “Police have been there at the scene all day.”
Police ask that anyone with information contact Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.