Commonwealth v. James Willie Hawkins Jr.; Jury Recommends 43 Years for Senseless Shooting

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that James Willie Hawkins, 46 years old, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was found guilty by a jury of Malicious Wounding, Abduction, two (2) counts of Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm. After deliberating until after 8 p.m., the jury recommended a sentence of 43 years in prison.  Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick who presided over the two-day trial, will formally sentence Hawkins on April 9, 2013.   Hawkins also faces trial on a charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon on March 5, 2013.


The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that in June 2012, James Willie Hawkins Jr. and his wife had been separated and living apart for at least nine months. A friend of Hawkins told him that a man was visiting his estranged wife’s home, located in the Wadsworth Shores military housing complex.  Hawkins armed himself with a handgun and borrowed a truck from another friend. Around 4 p.m. on June 12, 2012, he and his accomplice drove to his wife’s home and confronted the victim.  At gunpoint, Hawkins ordered the victim into the truck, and shot the victim multiple times when he refused. Hawkins jumped back into the truck, and his masked co-conspirator drove them away.


Officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department began investigating and found two black masks on the ground within blocks of the crime scene.  Multiple witnesses identified Hawkins and recognized him as a neighbor they had not seen in a while.  Investigators discovered that Hawkins borrowed the truck from a friend, who did not know it would be used in a crime.  Investigators found binoculars in the truck which were not there before Hawkins borrowed it.  While in jail awaiting trial, Hawkins wrote a letter to authorities in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Attorney’s Office in which he admitted to shooting the victim.


The victim, a decorated member of the U.S. Navy, survived with injuries to his left arm, left leg, and torso. He will likely be medically discharged as a result of the injuries he sustained from the shooting. 


Hawkins’ co-defendant is scheduled for trial on March 19, 2013 for charges of Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Abduction, Wearing a Mask, Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm.


Hawkins has prior convictions for Armed Robbery, Attempted Robbery, and Possession of a Controlled Substance.


The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph A. DiNonno and Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott C. Alleman.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.​