Dave Hawk Found Guilty in Murder of Ex-Wife

Hanford, CA Dave Hawk had no reaction and stood still as he heard the jury's verdicts of guilty for killing Debbie Hawk and for nine financial crimes most of which related to him taking money out of his children's trust funds.

But some of the most emotional moments today came from Dave and Debbie Hawk's 17-year old daughter, Chelsa, and one of the jurors.

"We the jury find it to be true that the murder of Debbie Hawk was intentional and was carried out for financial gain."

Dave Hawk barely showed any emotion as he learned he would likely spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of his ex-wife, Debbie.

Hawk was convicted of killing Debbie in June 2006 after she discovered he took more than $300,000 dollars out of their children's trust funds.

Larry Crouch, Prosecutor said: "The important thing to note today is that today is the day Debbie Hawk got her hearing".

Dave and Debbie's 17-year old daughter, Chelsa, darted out of the courtroom after the verdict was read. She sobbed as she heard the clerk say her father was guilty of murdering her mother.

Jurors who spent less than three days deliberating the case, said emotions also ran high in the jury room. Still, they feel justice was served.

Kenny Knutson, Jury Foreman said: "When they read the charge and, whoo, to see his daughter break down in tears was oh my, that was not easy I'll just tell you that was most definitely very difficult for me I'll just tell you that was most definitely very difficult for me".

Dee reed, Juror said: "For me the deciding factor was the fact that his youngest daughter had seen him a month before driving by the house taking pictures of the house".

Dave Hawk's attorneys plan to file an appeal of the verdict.

Mark Coleman, Dave Hawk's attorney said: "Dave is really disappointed but it's not entirely unexpected i think once he lost the change of venue motion in Dave's mind it became a much greater likelihood that he'd be convicted just because of the pretrial publicity".

Jurors say while there was no body or DNA evidence presented, they felt the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming.

Dave Hawk is expected to be sentenced to life without parole in December

Hawk Trial Notes

Day 1 - August 10, 2009

Several of Debbie Hawk's friends showed up to court today wearing purple. They said "Debbie was a very regal and graceful person" and the color purple reminds them of Debbie.

Before the trial began, Dave Hawk's attorneys said numerous times that they didn't believe Dave Hawk could get a fair trial in Kings County because of the high publicity of the case. Today, a small handful of Hanford residents came to sit in and listen to part of the testimony. One of them remarked that they expected more people from the community to come out and watch the trial. Several of Debbie and Dave's friends were in court to listen to the testimony but most of them weren't there because they are witnesses in the trial. They're allowed to sit in on the trial after they take the stand. Dave and Debbie's three children plus Debbie's friends are expected to take the stand in the coming weeks.

During opening statements, prosecutors said Debbie tried to take Dave to court for stealing money from their children's trust funds one other time before 2006. In 1998, after the couple separated, prosecutors said Debbie learned Dave took several thousand dollars out of the trust funds. Prosecutors said in January 2001, Dave Hawk signed an agreement ordering him to pay back the money he took from the accounts plus $45,000 in child support. Prosecutors then said Dave Hawk withdrew $60,000 from a second set of trust funds his parents set up for Debbie and Dave's three children to pay off the accounts and child support.
Day 2 - August 11, 2009

Several more Kings County residents sat in on Dave Hawk's trial today. Some commented that they want to try and watch the entire 6-8 week trial. When asked why they were interested in following the trial, one woman said many people in Kings County feel sorry the children have lost their mom and dad.

Mary Royer and Dave Hawk have known each other for ten years. Royer used to operate a daycare in her home. She first met Dave when he and Debbie wanted their three children cared for by her. Mary Royer and Dave Hawk started dating in October of 2000 after Debbie and Dave separated. She moved in shortly after. They continued their relationship until November of 2005 when she moved out. They took a break and began dating again close to Christmas of 2005.

In an effort to prove Dave Hawk misused his children's trust funds, they questioned Royer about a $26,000 Lexus Dave bought her. She claimed the Lexus was bought with Dave's money and also with a loan they received to pay off another car she owned.
Day 3 - August 12, 2009

Dave Hawk's ex-girlfriend, Mary Royer, testified again that she felt threatened by police investigators as she was interviewed about Debbie's murder. Prosecutors played an audio recording of Mary Royer's interview with police investigators in 2006. In the recording, you can hear Royer tell police that Dave said his child custody disputes weren't going to stop till Debbie was dead. She said "That was part of the rhetoric, part of his mantra." An investigator was then heard asking, "Did you think he was serious?" She replied, "No. Never in my life did I think he'd kill her."

In the afternoon, a number of witnesses took the stand, testifying briefly about the financial crimes Dave Hawk is charged with. A loan consultant said Dave Hawk falsely filled out a loan form to refinance his mortgage. In it, he listed his children as employees of a business he claimed he owned.
Day 4 - August 13, 2009

Dave and Debbie Hawk's two daughters took the stand today. The two girls have kept up their grades remarkably during this family tragedy. 13-year old Savannah Hawk told attorneys on the stand that she was valedictorian at her junior high school. 17-year old Chelsa Hawk testified she also was valedictorian of her junior high school and is on schedule to be valedictorian of her high school class, as well.

The two young women stayed calm and focused during their testimony. Both would occasionally glance over at their father, Dave Hawk. The witness stand is awkwardly placed approximately five or six feet away from the defense is seated.

Earlier in the day, another neighbor, Tiffany Jones, testified she heard a scream the night Debbie went missing. Jones said she heard a scream at about 1:15am. Yesterday, Janet Hughes, another neighbor of Debbie's, testified she heard two screams at around 2:15am.

A computer forensic analyst also took the stand today. She testified about emails they discovered on Dave Hawk's personal computer that showed he had purchased a stun gun. She testified the stun gun was purchased in May of 2006, about a month before Debbie disappeared.

After the computer forensic analyst, Mark Dillon, who retired last year from the Hanford Police Department, testified about the pictures he took of the crime scene at Debbie Hawk's house. Prosecutors showed jurors 100 photos that Dillon took of the scene, including what appeared to be blood stains on Debbie's bedroom floor, blood splatters on the floor and laundry room, and blood stains on the floor of the laundry room. Since Debbie and Dave's children saw the crime scene, attorneys pointed out just a few pictures to Savannah and Chelsa to confirm the pictures matched what they saw when they walked into the house for the first time after their mother disappeared.
Day 5 - August 14, 2009

Debbie and Dave Hawk's 19-year old son, Conrad, testified for more than a day. His testimony depicted quite a different picture than his two sisters' testimonies. Conrad spoke about several contentious arguments with his dad, including several moments where he told Conrad he was a terrible human being "just like his mother."

In court, Dave Hawk's attorneys tried to depict Conrad as an emotional teenager who loved his mother more than his father.

Dave Hawk's trial will likely wrap up a lot sooner than originally thought. Prosecutors believe they'll rest their case by Wednesday. The defense is expected to ask for a few days before they bring their witnesses.

Today the courtroom was close to full. A number of attorneys with the Kings County District Attorney's office plus even some of their family and friends are sitting in and watching the trial. They're joined by several Kings County residents and many relatives and friends of both Debbie and Dave.
Day 6 - August 17, 2009

Prosecutors played a taped interview of Dave and Debbie Hawk's daughter, Chelsa, talking with Detective Daren Matteson. In it, Det. Matteson asked Chelsa if she knew of any other trust funds that were set up for her and her brother and sister. She said she was aware there was a "college fund" set up by Dave's parents. Prosecutors are trying to prove that the money that Dave took out of their trust funds was for college and not for their every day expenses.

A former Kings County District Attorney investigator also took the stand. Randy Ebner testified he and another investigator were performance surveillance on Dave Hawk during the early morning hours of the 14th. Hanford Police called Dave and asked him to come to the station for an interview. Ebner testified that he and another investigator were parked in an unmarked car down the street from Dave Hawk's house. Ebner testified he saw Dave Hawk pull out of his house driving his white Suburban truck and then stop an intersection across from where the investigators were parked. Ebner said Dave had his right turn signal on but paused at the intersection for "about 20 seconds." Ebner testified Dave Hawk then drove forward, towards the investigators, swerved over the wrong side of the road and pulled up next to the investigator's car. He then looked at the investigators. At this point, Ebner testified that the other investigator (who was in the driver's seat) turned on the headlights of the unmarked car they were in and Ebner says he stepped out of the vehicle and pointed his gun at Dave Hawk. Ebner testified Hawk then drove off and parked at the Hanford Police Station. Ebner says he and the other investigator were wearing bullet-proof vests and shirts that read "Kings County District Attorney's Office" on it.

Later in the afternoon, a woman who used to live on Lilly Street in Fresno testified that her dog was barking very loud and scratching at their front fence sometime between 2:00 and 5:00am the week Debbie was killed. She testified she saw Debbie's van parked outside her house the next day. The woman called the Fresno Police Department after she saw it parked in the same location the following day.
Day 7 - August 18, 2009

Dave Hawk's close friend, Keith Marshall took the stand today. Investigators had Marshall wear a hidden microphone to try and get incriminating evidence against Hawk. Hawk's attorneys played audio recordings of the conversation in which Marshall asks Dave why he didn't tell him he bought a stun gun a month before Debbie disappeared. Dave told him he wasn't thinking.

In court, Marshall told prosecutors, "He didn't bring the stun gun up and as close as we were, I would have thought that he'd bring it up." Marshall then told Hawk's attorney about how he felt bad going behind Dave's back. He said, "I was in tears. It was the toughest thing I've had to do."

Dave Hawk also talked about how he was "scared to death" of getting arrested even though he told Keith Marshall that he was innocent.

Hawk's attorneys say Keith Marshall hasn't talked to Dave in at least two years and would probably still want to be his friend. They said Dave understands the kind of pressure Keith Marshall was in at the time.

Attorneys also questioned Marshall about whether he thought Dave suspected him of wearing a wire. He told attorneys that towards the end of the conversation he suspected him of wearing one but wasn't sure.
Day 8 - August 19, 2009

Mike Ray, Debbie Hawk's boyfriend and close friend testified he saw Debbie the entire weekend before she disappeared. They saw each other for dinner on Friday night, went to a wedding together on Saturday and Sunday he testified they had a long lunch with his family. He described their relationship as "very close friends" who "shared just about everything" with each other. Ray says he talked to her every day. The last time he heard from her was on Monday. He says Debbie left him a voicemail about a concert she wanted to get tickets to at Hanford's Fox Theater. Mike Ray testified that after Debbie disappeared he was involved in numerous searches to look for her. He says he passed out flyers and encouraged local citizens to get involved.

Debbie Hawk's sister, Diane Triantis, testified about how Debbie was a very happy person. Triantis said the only times Debbie was unhappy was when she showed disappointment about not being in a long-term relationship. Triantis testified "Her marriage didn't work out. She was hoping at some point she'd have a good relationship with someone, something everybody wants and she hoped for." Triantis says she last saw Debbie on Friday night when she stayed overnight at her house. She last spoke to her on Sunday.

Dave Hawk's attorneys say they're expecting to call between 10-12 witnesses. They don't expect their side of the case to last more than two days. The jury could begin deliberating on the case as early as Monday.
Day 9 - August 20, 2009

Larry Crouch and James Braun's heated exchange in court was mostly over what they thought the terms of Dave and Debbie Hawk's children's trust agreement were. Braun testified they were very broad and that the trust was just for the "health, maintenance and support" of the children. Crouch got angry, pointing at him and sometimes just looking at the jury when he asked Braun a question. Crouch was questioning him about a $26,000 Lexus Dave bought his girlfriend Mary that Crouch believes came from the children's trust money. At one point, in response, Braun said the car is a trust-related expense because the children drove around in the car.

Dave Hawk's attorneys also called a firearms instructor, Ron Sawl, to the stand today. Sawl actually helps train some of the courthouse security officers in Kings County. Prosecutors think it's suspicious that Dave Hawk bought a stun gun a month before Debbie's murder. They think Hawk tried to use the stun gun to kill Debbie but when it didn't work, he had to use a blunt force object to kill her. Sawl testified today that the 775,000-volt stun gun Hawk bought would only have put someone out for a few seconds. Hawk's attorneys say their client bought the stun gun to protect his children and girlfriend from burglars at his house even though Hawk's children and girlfriend, Mary Royer testified they never knew about it.
Day 10 - August 24, 2009

The defense rested its case today. Three years after her disappearance and assumed murder, several of Debbie Hawk's friends who have sat in on the trial every day said today-- they feel positive about how the prosecution has presented their case. Debbie's friend, Sandra Lackey, said "We're here as Debbie's friends to be here when she can't and to finish up what she started in her findings and we are just here to support them."

Prosecutors say the strongest piece of their case is the fact that Dave Hawk is the only person who had a motive to kill Debbie. The media and the family and friends of both Debbie and Dave Hawk are expected to be camped out at the Kings County Courthouse, near Department 3, over the next couple days to wait for the jury to reach its verdict.

Prosecutors will likely give closing arguments for one to two hours. Hawk's attorneys said their arguments will last about 45 minutes to an hour. Then the judge will instruct the jury on how exactly to discuss the charges. Jury instruction is expected to last about 30 minutes. If everything moves quickly, the jury should have the case in their hands by the afternoon.
Day 11 - August 25, 2009

Today, Prosecutors and Dave Hawk's attorneys gave their closing arguments. The jury seemed very engaged in the attorneys' presentations, especially Larry Crouch's.

The courtroom was packed all day today. In fact, it was standing-room only for several people. Dave Hawk's friends Keith Marshall and Pastor Sandy Brown sat in to watch the closing arguments. Debbie and Dave's 17-year old daughter, Chelsa also sat in during the afternoon. She sat in the front row right behind her dad.

More than six of Debbie's friends also sat in to listen to the closing arguments along with Debbie's parents and a number of Hanford police officers.

Dave Hawk seemed extremely interested in what attorneys on both sides had to say during closing arguments today. He seemed to closely watch them as they talked.

Tomorrow the jury will begin deliberating shortly after 9am. Attorneys aren't guessing as to how long it will take them to come to a verdict.
Day 12 - August 26, 2009

The courtroom was mostly empty this morning. Only one or two community members plus Debbie Hawk's parents were in court. The judge gave brief instructions to the jury and then sent them off to the jury room to start deliberating. The judge then told the remaining alternates that they are still technically "on call" in case something happens with one of the jurors who is deliberating. He told them not to discuss the case but they are free to leave courthouse grounds if they wish. The judge said that if one of the jurors has to be replaced with an alternate in the middle of deliberations, the new jury must start deliberating all over again.

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