Commonwealth v. James Willie Hawkins Jr.; Judge Imposes 36-Year Sentence for Non-Fatal Shooting

Tuesday, July 02, 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 formally sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick on charges of Malicious Wounding, Abduction, two (2) counts of Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm. Hawkins was found guilty by a jury of these charges on January 9, 2013, and the jury recommended he serve 43 years in prison. Today Judge Padrick imposed that sentence; however, he ordered Hawkins to serve the two Conspiracy sentences concurrently, resulting in a total sentence of 36 years to serve.


The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that in June of 2012, James Willie Hawkins Jr. and his wife had been separated and living apart for at least nine months. Hawkins’ friend, Jimmy Lee Bufkin Jr., 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, Hawkins and Bufkin drove to Hawkins’ 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 to do so. Hawkins jumped back into the truck, and Bufkin 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.  A witness recognized Hawkins as a neighbor who had been in the apartment complex previously.  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. 


On May 22, 2013, Bufkin pled guilty to charges of Malicious Wounding, Abduction, Wearing a Mask, Conspiracy, and Use of a Firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2013.


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.