Shawn Hawkins interviewed

Columbus Dispatch
June 15th 2011
By Alan Johnson

LEBANON, Ohio – At 10 a.m. yesterday, the exact hour that a lethal dose of pentobarbital was supposed to be flowing into his veins at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, Shawn Hawkins was sitting in a room 90 miles away.

Very much alive, Hawkins looked out a window at the Warren Correctional Institution. He saw bright sunshine, a patch of green grass and a parking lot outside a fence topped with curled razor wire.

“I feel blessed,” Hawkins said in an interview with The Dispatch. “Knowing that my family doesn’t have to endure the loss of me means everything, especially since my mom already lost two of her kids. I would have been the third.”

Hawkins said he was not afraid to die. Knowing when he was supposed to die actually helped, he said.

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From: News5 (

LEBANON — An inmate who was spared from execution by Ohio’s governor says in a prison interview with a newspaper that he was particularly glad for his mother because his death would have broken her heart.

Shawn Hawkins also told The Columbus Dispatch that he’s hopeful of eventually winning release from prison, where he’s serving life without parole.

Hawkins, 42, said that when he learned June 8 that he’d received clemency, it was a “big relief moment” personally.

“A weight lifted,” he said.

Read more: <a href="LEBANON — An inmate who was spared from execution by Ohio's governor says in a prison interview with a newspaper that he was particularly glad for his mother because his death would have broken her heart. Shawn Hawkins also told The Columbus Dispatch that he's hopeful of eventually winning release from prison, where he's serving life without parole. Hawkins, 42, said that when he learned June 8 that he'd received clemency, it was a "big relief moment" personally. "A weight lifted," he said.


Kasich grants clemency to Death Row inmate


By Mark Curnutte, June 8, 2011
Shawn Hawkins was admitted to Ohio’s death row on Feb. 1, 1990.

On Wednesday, Gov. John Kasich commuted the death sentence of the Springfield Township man, who was scheduled to be executed Tuesday, to life in prison without parole.

Kasich signed the warrant of commutation and released the following statement:

“There is no doubt that the defendant played a significant, material role in this heinous crime, but precise details of that role are frustratingly unclear to the point that Ohio shouldn’t deliver the ultimate penalty in this case. Therefore, I am ordering that he spend the rest of his life in prison and have no chance of ever getting out.

“As someone who has experienced sudden and tragic loss, I know the pain that comes with losing loved ones. My prayers go out to the families of Diamond Marteen and Terrance Richard in the hope that they may find peace.”

Read the rest here.

Uncertainty demands clemency for death-row inmate

By Marilou Johanek, Blade Commentary writer
June 2nd 2011
Toledo Blade

Shawn Hawkins has friends in high places. Not only does the Ohio death row inmate have all the usual opponents of capital punishment working to spare his life, set to end in 13 days, but even conservative, pro-death penalty Republicans are on board.

Last weekend, an unusual appeal on Hawkins’ behalf appeared in some Toledo Diocese parish bulletins. It encouraged the faithful to contact Gov. John Kasich and press for leniency.

In February, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio, including Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, called on lawmakers to abolish executions. Now the Catholic Church appears determined to bring its influence to bear on a particular clemency cause.

So who is Shawn Hawkins, and why should we care whether he dies by lethal injection on June 14th? Court records show he was a small-time criminal and convicted drug dealer before a jury found him guilty of killing two Cincinnati men in 1989 in an apparent drug deal gone bad.

He admits he helped arrange the deal, but he has steadfastly denied that he committed the double-murder. If it weren’t for the powerful backing his case has received from prominent death-penalty proponents, I’d plead indifference.

I have little interest in or sympathy for the doomed on death row who proclaim their innocence or find religion as their date with the grim reaper nears. The brutal murder of my cousin years ago hardened me to prison compassion.

Yet when state Sen. Bill Seitz (R., Cincinnati) and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, both well-known conservatives who support the death penalty, said they believed Hawkins should receive mercy, I was intrigued. Former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, now Mr. Kasich’s chancellor of higher education, agreed with his Republican colleagues and joined them to write to the governor and Ohio Parole Board asking that Hawkins be spared.

Then, in a most uncommon development, the parole board voted unanimously to recommend clemency. That’s happened only a handful of times since Ohio resumed executions in 1999, putting 44 convicted killers to death since then.

Only six condemned inmates have had their execution sentences commuted to life in prison without parole. Three argued successfully that addiction or disease warranted mercy, and three, like Hawkins, contended their innocence did.

The parole board said it wasn’t convinced that Hawkins, who at 42 has spent half his life in prison, was innocent. But the clemency report said uncertainty about the appropriateness of the death sentence in his case sealed the recommendation.

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Plz Sign for Shawn Hawkins to save his life! Innocent yet in danger of being murdered

Please sign this petition to save the life of Shawn Hawkins! Execution date 14th of June 2011.

Write the Ohio Parole Board please! Sample letter here.

Target: Honorable Governor of Ohio John Kasich
Sponsored by: Family and Friends of Shawn Hawkins


We are petitioning Governor Kasich in an effort to save Shawn from unjustly being put to death by the State of Ohio for the murders, which he did not commit, of Terrance Richard and Diamond Marteen in Mt. Healthy, Ohio. We stand firmly on the belief that Shawn Hawkins is innocent of these crimes! We feel Shawn was unjustly convicted for the following reasons:


He had absolutely no involvement in this crime that he was charged with, and unjustly convicted of.


The State’s key witness, a juvenile at the time, Henry Brown, failed two polygraph tests, changed his story multiple times, lied about his alibi the night of the murders, and he later confessed to participating in the crimes.

Henry was granted full Immunity.

After Shawn’s conviction, Henry Brown told investigators that he had lied at Shawn’s trial and confessed to participating in the homicides.

One year after Shawn’s conviction, Brown robbed two others at gunpoint in a manner similar to the murders of Terrace Richard and Diamond Marteen. He is currently serving another sentence of 4 to 7 years for aggravated robbery.


The only physical evidence was a questionable partial fingerprint found in the car with the victims. Shawn had admittedly been in the car several times during the course of that horrific day with the two young men.

The Miami Valley Crime Lab, which had the latest laser technology, determined that a fingerprint could not be enhanced, lifted, or identified from any of the prints found in the car and therefore could not help the State’s case. The lab sent the prints, some of which had been destroyed in the testing process, back to the detectives.

Although the Crime Lab was unable to identify the fingerprints, the State Examiner, who had no prior blood print experience, used this same physical evidence and miraculously enhanced it to identify Shawn’s print.

None of this information was made available to Shawn’s attorney and the circumstances surrounding the fingerprint evidence were revealed during Federal Discovery, many years later, after Shawn’s conviction.


Legal Counsel told Shawn that there was no way he could be convicted of these crimes. Counsel believed the state’s evidence was so unsubstantial that he had him testify in his own defense, failed to call witnesses on Shawn’s behalf, failed to present any mitigating evidence, even though such evidence was readily available and conducted an extremely weak defense.

Counsel’s closing arguments focused entirely on berating and threatening the jury for its prior determination of Shawn’s guilt, while failing to present mitigating evidence or call witnesses on Shawn’s behalf. The jury issued a death sentence following Counsel’s closing arguments.


The conduct of the police investigators was reprehensible. The agenda was on closing the case and not finding the actual killers of these two young men.

The State’s key witness implicated two additional people as participants in the crimes, but neither person was ever arrested or charged, which illuminates the fact that they really never cared about finding the truth.

There is an existing audiotape of the police investigators where one detective makes the statement “two dead niggers in Mt. Healthy”. This demonstrates how low they regarded the lives of blacks and did not hesitate to help convict and ruin the life of another innocent black man.

At trial, they testified that they lost their notes regarding what Shawn had told them during the investigation, which speaks for itself!

The fact that Shawn’s jury did not hear much of this important evidence has not been corrected by the courts, and Executive Clemency exists to intervene where the courts cannot at this point. Therefore, we, as friends, family and supporters of Shawn, implore him to demonstrate respect for justice and human life by doing everything within his power to commute the death sentence of Shawn Hawkins. He has spent 20 years of his life housed on death row for a crime he did NOT commit, and now ask that the Governor correct this wrong by recommending and granting clemency at this time.We pray that he will show compassion in his decision.

We also would like to thank your for your time and attention to this very serious matter. To get involved and help please visit our website or call our Save Shawn Line at 513-442-1280 and leave a message. Someone will respond promptly.

Many Thanks,
For more info visit:

The Family and Friends of Shawn Hawkins