Background information

On June 11, 1989, Diamond Marteen and Jerome Thomas were interested in buying a pound of marijuana. Terrance Richard knew Shawn Hawkins to be a potential seller. Richard, Marteen, and Thomas drove to Hawkins residence on Newbrook Drive in Mt. Healthy, Ohio that evening in a silver-gray Hyundai sedan owned by Richard’s mother.

Hawkins discussed the possibility of being able to locate the drugs that the men were looking for and said he needed time to check around with his sources. He provided the men with a pager number so that they could contact him later to see if anything could be found. During the initial discussion with the men, no money was ever shown, but price rates were discussed. Thomas (the third man who was there during initial discussions) testified that Hawkins never entered the Hyundai sedan during the drug deal discussion.

Thereafter, Richard and Marteen drove Thomas to work at approximately 10:30 p.m. Richard and Marteen then proceeded to the home of Melissa Edwards. They used her telephone to page someone and received a return phone call. Richard and Marteen left Edward’s home after receiving the telephone call.

Sometime in the late hours of June 11, 1989, or the early morning hours of June 12, 1989, Richard and Marteen were killed. The bodies of Richard and Marteen were discovered mid-morning on June 12, 1989, in the Hyundai sedan owned by Richard’s mother on Elizabeth Street, a residential street in Mt. Healthy. Marteen’s body was found in the front passenger seat in a reclined position; Richard’s body was found in the rear seat. Each man had been shot twice at close range in the left side of the head. All four shots were fired from a .25 caliber weapon. The weapon was never recovered.

Crime scene investigators determined that the crime had occurred in another location and that the vehicle had been moved shortly after the killings. Investigators found no money in the vehicle except for loose change. Jewelry that Marteen had been wearing the night before was missing from his body. His pants’ pockets were turned partially inside out. A morgue attendant later found a napkin on which a pager number was written in one of Richard’s pockets. The pager number was discovered to be one used by Hawkins.

The police contacted Hawkins as a potential witness to the murders. He admitted to having discussed a drug deal with the victims on the evening of June 11, 1989. However, Hawkins testified at trial that the deal was not consummated because he was unable to get in touch with his suppliers. Hawkins told the police that he never saw the victims after 9:00 p.m. on June 11th. The police stated that Hawkins denied having entered the Hyundai sedan.

Fingerprint examiners said they identified two fingerprints matching Hawkins prints inside the Hyundai. One of the prints, a partial thumbprint, was set in human blood on a blood-spattered notebook recovered from the floor of the rear of the automobile. The thumbprint could have been made only by a bloody thumb touching the notebook or by a thumb touching a bloodstain on the notebook. The blood on the notebook was Type A which matched the blood type of both victims. The second fingerprint was found on the right rear door of the Hyundai.

Henry Brown, Jr., a seventeen year-old juvenile, eventually came forward to identify Hawkins as the killer. Brown told the authorities that on June 12, 1989 at 12:30 a.m. he saw Hawkins kill Richard in the rear seat of a Hyundai sedan on a cul-de-sac on Newbrook Drive. Brown stated that Marteen already was dead in the driver’s seat which is impossible because it was determined by the detectives/experts that Marteen was killed in the passenger seat where he was found.  Brown stated further that Hawkins rummaged through the vehicle and drove it from the murder scene. He described the murder weapon as a .25 caliber handgun. He stated that Hawkins was wearing a black muscle shirt at the time of the murders.

Other witnesses described hearing four gun shots on June 12, 1989, between approximately 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m., originating in the cul-de-sac area of Newbrook Drive. Several minutes after the shots, Kenneth Boehmler saw a silver-gray sedan driving in a suspicious manner on Hudepohl Lane, one block south of the Newbrook Drive cul-de-sac. When the driver of the sedan exited the vehicle for a few moments, Boehlmer identified him as wearing a dark muscle shirt and described his height, weight, and build in a manner consistent with Hawkins’ height, weight, and build. Boehmler also saw someone reclining in the front passenger seat as if asleep.

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