• Source: Facebook
  • Alabama Sheriff on Bisexual Teen's Brutal Murder: 'It Depends on What You Call a Hate Crime'

    EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Says Murdered 19-Year Old Nicholas Hawkins Knew His Killers, But Refuses To Discuss Motive

    A sheriff in rural Alabama is refusing to say whether authorities believe a bisexual teen was brutally murdered due to his sexual orientation. 

    Walker County Sheriff Jim Underwood initially told The New Civil Rights Movement on Friday morning that the murder of Nicholas Hawkins "wasn't a hate crime." 

    But later in the interview, Underwood backtracked. 

    "We haven’t discussed that with anybody yet, about the motive," Underwood said in an exclusive interview. "If we lock ourselves in on something right at this point and that changes, attorneys will eat us alive on that. 

    "It depends on what you call a hate crime, but I can’t go into the motive, what we think the motive might have been," Underwood added. "At this time, we’re not going to go into that, because it will come out in the court process, here sometime probably in the near future. I’m not going to speculate on that right now." 

    Asked about Alabama's hate crimes law, Underwood said he was unsure whether it includes sexual orientation.

    It does not. 

    Asked about the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act — which includes sexual orientation and allows the FBI to assist local agencies with hate crime investigations — Underwood said, "We handled the case ourselves." 

    Underwood's office has arrested six people in connection with the murder of Hawkins, whose body was found wrapped in a blanket and buried under brush and debris, three days after he disappeared. Three of the suspects are charged with murder, while the other three are charged with hindering prosecution. 

    Underwood said Hawkins died from a gunshot wound to the chest, but declined to say how many times he'd been shot. Underwood also said Hawkins' body showed signs of head trauma, indicating he was beaten prior to being shot. 

    Hawkins' older brother, Jacob Hawkins, has described his brother's murder as "a horrible, horrible death."

    Hawkins knew all six of the suspects, and they were "hanging out" on the night of his murder, Underwood said.

    News reports have indicated Hawkins, an aspiring cosmetologist, was on his way home from a beauty pageant Feb. 13 when he called his mother and said, "Somebody is trying to kill me," before the call cut off.

    But Underwood said investigators have been unable to confirm that Hawkins ever went to the pageant. 

    Hawkins' body was found Feb. 16, the same day the first suspect was arrested. 

    A representative from the Walker County District Attorney's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment. 

     

    EARLIER:

    Police Arrest 6 in Murder of Bisexual Teen Who Told Mom, 'Somebody Is Trying to Kill Me'

    'Somebody Is Trying to Kill Me': Bisexual Teen Found Dead After Frantic Phone Call to Mother

     

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    • commented 2016-03-14 03:36:53 -0400
      I hope that at some point people will start asking if gross incompetence, beyond simple abuse of discretion, led to Mr. Hawkins death.

      As reported, in 2013, Mr. Reese was arrested in Jefferson county for armed robbery and attempted murder and made bail shortly there after.

      But what is not being reported, is that Reese was also arrested, among with two other people, later that same year, in Walker County for Assault 1st, burglary 1st, kidnapping 1st and theft 2nd.

      The two others received prompt judicial determinations of probable cause on July 29th, their initial appearance hearings on July 31st and we’re indicted on Nov. 19th, 2013. Both have since pleaded guilty to other charges and to the best that I can tell, both have remained jailed since that arrest. Those case are still pending and one filed a motion for a speedy trial on Jan. 25th, 2016, three weeks before this murder.

      However, there is no court records of Reese being arrested in Walker county of 2013.

      I am told that those charges are serious enough that anyone 16yrs old or older would automatically be tried as adults. So, there is no legitimate reason for those charges to be sealed.

      Walker County Circuit Clerk is currently being sued for not making judicial determinations of probable cause in a timely manner. And this is mostly likely why there is no court records of that arrest, why his bond was not revoked for the JeffCo arrest and why he was no sentenced to jail time on the marihuana charge.

      And some would say that there is no excuse for his bond not to be revoked after his marihuana conviction.

    • commented 2016-03-06 12:52:04 -0500
      It sounds as though the sheriff doesn’t want to have to filea hate crime case against the suspects. Does that sheriff sympathize with the killers maybe just a little bit?

    • commented 2016-03-05 19:50:55 -0500
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    • commented 2016-03-05 00:20:04 -0500
      Don’t forget they tried the same shit with Mathew Shepard. Claiming he was a drug dealer, was a lover of one of his killers, and/or sexually assaulted the murderous bastards. Between the police’s rampant homophobia, and their assassinations of unarmed black men (and others) it is becoming impossible for me to continue defending the police as I always tried to give them the benefit of a doubt. Yes there are many good cops out there but I am out of justifications for cops in general.

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    • commented 2016-03-04 18:04:10 -0500
      Sounds like they don’t have much, don’t want to give out any and/or not interested in national coverage by calling in the FBI. I think they just want to get it over with quickly with very little noise. Just the kind of thing that should go viral. I’ll start by sharing.

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