(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Criminal Court convicted a death row prisoner's father of raping two young relatives over an extended period of time.
Officers took James Hawkins, 63, into custody after he was found guilty on Friday of raping two girls when they were as young as age 6 years old. The assaults continued for eight years until the victims, now 14 and 18, were removed from the home.
James Hawkins Jr., 36, reportedly stabbed and strangled his girlfriend in front of their three children. He reportedly forced his then 12-year-old daughter to help him saw off her mother's hands. They then scattered the body parts in DeSoto County.
In her father's testimony, the teenager testified Hawkins Jr. repeatedly sexually abused her. After becoming pregnant, he punched her in a stomach; she later had a miscarriage.
A jury found Hawkins Jr. guilty of murder and gave him the death penalty by lethal injection in June 2011. His child-rape case remains pending.
When officials charged Hawkins in 2012 for raping five of his children, prosecutors said his son could have testified to witnessing some of his father's abuse—including beatings and threats into silence. But a defense attorney argued Hawkins Jr. would be an unreliable witness.
Three more child-rape cases involving other relatives continue to pend against Hawkins, who has 22 children.
Hawkins faces a minimum of 25 years in prison with no parole for both felony counts of child rape. He will be sentenced May 9.
As for his son, no execution date is set.
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