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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:12

Man Convicted of Raping Young Female Relatives

James Hawkins, Sr. James Hawkins, Sr. SCSO
MEMPHIS - Apr. 11, 2014 - The father of a death row prisoner was convicted of raping two young female relatives over an extended period of time, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
James Hawkins, 63, was taken into custody after the Criminal Court jury convicted him on two felony counts of rape of a child.
He faces a minimum of 25 years in prison with no parole on each count when he is sentenced May 9 by Judge Lee Coffee.
The two victims, now 14 and 18, testified that Hawkins began raping them when they were as young as age 6 and that the assaults continued for some eight years until 2010 when they were removed from the home.
The case was handled by assistant district attorneys Eric Christensen and Lessie Rainey of the Special Victims Unit (SVU).
Hawkins has three more child-rape cases that are pending trials involving three other female relatives.
His son, James Hawkins Jr., 36, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2011 for the first-degree murder of his longtime girlfriend and mother of his children, Charlene Gaither. No execution date has been set.
Hawkins Jr. also has a pending child-rape case.
The SVU prosecutes all cases of rape and aggravated rape with adult victims; child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims, and elder and vulnerable adult abuse.
Last year SVU prosecutors obtained 174 convictions of offenders either through guilty pleas or trials.
Defendants received a total of 1,586 years in prison, with nearly half of those sentences to be served at 100 percent, said SVU Chief Prosecutor Carrie Shelton.
The unit focuses on the special needs of child victims and the elderly who are the most vulnerable in the community. It also handles cases involving other special victims as directed by Gen. Weirich.
SVU was created in 2010 as an expansion of the Child Protection Investigative Team (CPIT). Prosecutors meet daily to review each new child abuse complaint and work closely with the Department of Children’s Services, Adult Protective Services, the Child Advocacy Center, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.