Trial set for Puna man accused of killing wife


A 44-year-old Puna man accused of killing his wife in 2008 has been ordered to stand trial early next year.

On Monday, Alexander Malani Gambsky of Orchidland Estates subdivision pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura ordered Gambsky to appear for trial Jan. 13.

Gambsky is accused of killing his 34-year-old wife, Dawn K. Gambsky, aka Dawn K. Mancilla, sometime between Jan. 1 and July 29, 2008. Friends of Dawn Gambsky had reported her missing in July 2008 after they hadn’t seen her for about six months. Her skeletal remains were found by police executing a search warrant Aug. 8, 2008, in a shallow grave in the backyard of the home she shared with her husband on 37th Avenue in Orchidland. Gambsky was living in the home with another woman at the time.

An autopsy indicated the presence of traumatic injuries to Dawn Gambsky’s body, which was identified by dental records.

According to court documents, Gambsky told police in 2008 that his wife had left him and he didn’t know how to contact her. His then-girlfriend, however, told investigators that Gambsky had said Dawn Gambsky had committed suicide by hanging herself in mid-January 2008 and that he had found her body in the carport, suspended by a rope.

Gambsky is incarcerated at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $1 million bail. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jeff Ng, requested that the court grant Gambsky supervised release for two weeks.

“The reason he wants to ask for supervised release for two weeks is that he wants to take care of his mother, make sure his mother’s situated,” Ng said. “His mother lives alone, has no electricity and no car. He has her phone, so he’d like an opportunity to make sure she’s OK.”

County Prosecutor Mitch Roth told the court the state “strongly objects to any reduction in bail.”

“We’d also point out that Mr. Gambsky indicated that he’s working at Ohana Banana,” Roth said. “According to a conversation I had with Mike Tarring, who’s president of Ohana Banana … it sounds like he hasn’t been working there for at least a year or so.”

Gambsky was indicted by a Hilo grand jury Wednesday after witnesses in the case were re-interviewed, Roth said. A bench warrant was issued and police arrested Gambsky on Thursday at the Orchidland home.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.