Friday, 26 January 2018 13:12

Salmon murder: Reports entered showing Hawkins competent to stand trial

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Halifax County Superior Court Judge Alma Hinton will continue her study of three reports entered as evidence which are said to show Gene Arnold “Root Root” Hawkins is now competent to stand trial in the 2006 murder of Roanoke Rapids businessman Shelby Salmon.

Hinton called for the documents to be sealed and they were not discussed in detail during a status hearing on the matter this morning.

Hawkins, who in 2013 was found incompetent to stand trial in the case, is currently housed at Central Regional Hospital in Butner.

Hinton confirmed the court had been given the reports and told Hawkins’ defense team and the district attorney’s office she saw no need for testimony in light of the reports.

The judge told the court she would take the matter under advisement until May 23.

Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner told the court the state “has concerns about his location.”

He said Central Regional “desires him to be transferred out.”

Said Werner: “He’s a danger to himself and staff. They’re very concerned. They want the assaults on staff of Central Regional to stop immediately.”

Hawkins is at the Butner facility on a Halifax County District Court ruling until July, Hinton told the attorneys.

“Central Regional is upset he’s there taking up space and feels he is a danger to the staff,” Werner said.

Said Hinton: “If I determine he’s competent to proceed (District Court) Judge (Turner) Stephenson’s order is still in effect.”

Philip Lane, one of the attorneys representing Hawkins, said, “Either party could file a request to expedite a hearing in district court.”

Hinton said her preference, however, is for the attorneys to prepare for her a plan of how to proceed either way based on her ruling and what steps will be taken in the case. “I want to give fair warning to be prepared for either outcome.”

In 2013, Hinton found Hawkins incompetent to stand trial. That ruling came after three medical experts testified Hawkins suffers from an organic brain dysfunction brought on by parental abuse, a drug overdose and a car wreck in which he was ejected from the vehicle as well as other factors.

Reasonings and factors for the change in his competency were not discussed during today’s status hearing.

Hawkins was arrested in the Salmon murder in 2009.

Salmon, who ran an investment company giving loans to people, was murdered at his Roanoke Avenue business and died from a close range gunshot wound to the head.


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