Discovery of Debbie Hawk's body could change everything in Dave Hawk's murder conviction

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The discovery of Debbie Hawk's body in a Kings County field could have a big effect on Dave Hawk's murder conviction.

The case against Dave Hawk was built purely on circumstantial evidence. Investigators could never find any DNA or fingerprints tying him to the crime. But now, they have the body, and a forensic examination could change everything.

When the dust settles over that Kings County field, Debbie Hawk's bones will have moved to a forensics lab. Scientists will try to piece together her exact cause of death and look for physical evidence they've lacked for ten years. For Dave Hawk, it could be a huge development.

"From what I know so far, it gives us a basis for a motion for a new trial," said his defense attorney, Mark Coleman.

Coleman has appealed Dave Hawk's conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and so far, he's gotten nowhere. But now that the body's been found, forensics experts tell me those scientists could turn up hairs, fingerprints, or DNA -- a stronger connection to the killer than the financial documents showing Dave Hawk stole from his kids' trust funds.

"We're hopeful that a forensic examination will turn up evidence that will be helpful to proving Dave did not do this, that will point to somebody else," Coleman said.

Of course, the evidence could also prove the exact opposite. Prosecutors are banking on it. And the discovery already disproves one of the arguments Coleman used at trial in 2009. He and Dennis Peterson, who is now a Fresno County judge, claimed it was possible Debbie Hawk was still alive.

Investigators stand by their initial beliefs that justice was served when Dave Hawk was convicted.

"We are just as convinced today as we were the day we arrested him, the day we took him to trial and the day he was convicted that Dave Hawk is responsible for the murder of Debbie Hawk," said Capt. Karl Anderson of the Hanford Police Department.
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