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Posted: January 12, 2018

Man confesses to cold case murder on TV, turns in self and accomplices


Man confesses to cold case murder on TV, turns in self and accomplices
Brian Keith Hawkins, left, walked into a California news station Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, and confessed to the May 1993 homicide of 19-year-old Frank Wesley McAlister, right. Hawkins turned himself in to police and implicated siblings Curtis Dean Culver and Shanna Nichole Culver, who were later charged alongside him.

By Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

REDDING, Calif.  —

A California man on Tuesday walked into a news station and confessed, on camera, to a 25-year-old murder.

Brian Keith Hawkins, 45, of Shingletown, went to KRCR Channel 7 in Redding and told reporters there that he wanted to confess to his involvement in a homicide, Redding police officials said in a statement

Frank Wesley McAlister, 19, was reported missing by his family in May 1993, police officials said. His vehicle was later recovered, with a large amount of blood inside, in the parking lot of a Costco store. 

McAlister’s remains were found the following April by a hiker near the area of Grace and Nora lakes in Shingletown. 

Hawkins told investigators that he could no longer live with the guilt from what he had done and that he wanted to clear his conscience, police officials said. He made similar statements in his recorded confession at KRCR, which is located next door to the police station.

“I have been through hell my whole life because of this,” Hawkins told the news station, crying as he spoke. 

Watch Hawkins’ confession to a KRCR reporter below. 

Hawkins described the weight of the guilt he has felt. 

“Horrible. Horrible. Absolutely horrible every day. Almost every minute of every day has been a nightmare,” Hawkins said. “It’s kind of weird that Frank never even got to have a life, and neither did I. We were teenagers and now I’m 44 and still haven’t even had a life, and now probably, most likely won’t anyway.

“God and Christ, these things that have happened throughout my whole life since then, for 25 years, have pushed me and pushed me to do the right thing,” a somber Hawkins said. “I know the wrong can’t be changed, but this is as close as I can come to doing the right thing.”

Hawkins had been on Redding detectives’ radar since McAlister’s disappearance, according to police officials. Investigators in 1993 learned that Hawkins and two siblings, Curtis Dean Culver and Shanna Nichole Culver, were the last people to see McAlister alive. 

Shanna Culver was Hawkins’ girlfriend at the time of the crime. 

All three suspects denied involvement McAlister’s disappearance, police officials said.

Investigators followed leads and examined evidence through the years since McAlister’s slaying, but were never able to make an arrest. 

Then, Hawkins showed up at the KRCR studio. The news station reported that Hawkins walked in and said he wanted to confess to the murder. 

“He refused to answer any questions about the case itself, but said he wanted people to know that he had found God, and that is what led him to finally do the right thing and confess,” the news station reported. “We agreed to interview him on the condition that we would hold the interview until he turned himself in, and law enforcement could corroborate his confession.” 

Hawkins told the news station that he did not know McAlister before the homicide. He said the Culvers knew the victim. 

Hawkins went to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office later that day to turn himself in. He then met with Redding police detectives, to whom he made his official confession.

Police officials said Hawkins told investigators that he and the Culvers, then in their early 20s, lured McAlister to the Shingletown area with the intent to rob him. McAlister had a large amount of cash that the trio wanted to steal to buy methamphetamine, Hawkins said. 

McAlister’s family told the Redding Record Searchlight in 1993 that he had about $4,500 on him the day he vanished. The money was from a settlement he received following a car crash he was in two months before he was killed. 

Once McAlister met them in rural Shasta County, their plan turned to one of murder, and Hawkins and Curtis Culver stabbed McAlister to death, according to Hawkins’ confession. They left his body in a wooded area and drove his vehicle to the Costco where it was later found.

Hawkins’ confession was corroborated by evidence collected in the case, police officials said

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Curtis Culver, 45, and Shanna Culver, 46, both of Red Bluff, were taken in for questioning on Wednesday. Like Hawkins, they were ultimately charged with McAlister’s murder.

Redding police Capt. Eric Wallace, the lead investigator on the case, told KRCR that both Culvers made incriminating statements during questioning.  

Redding police officials on Thursday thanked McAlister’s family members for their patience in the more than two decades it took to make the arrests in his slaying.

“We sincerely hope that the recent arrest of Frank’s alleged murderers will bring some measure of closure to his family,” officials said in a statement

McAlister’s grandmother, Avis Rice, 81, told the Record Searchlight Thursday that the family was stunned by the arrests.

“It is such a shock to us,” Rice told the newspaper

The family had long suspected Hawkins and the Culver siblings of killing her grandson, Rice said. 

McAlister’s uncle, Jon McAlister, wrote about the arrests on Facebook, lamenting the fact that his brother -- and Frank’s father -- is not around to see his son’s killers brought to justice.

Douglas McAlister died in October.  

“Twenty-five years ago, my nephew, Frankie, was murdered. Today, the man that did it confessed, and he and two others will now be brought to justice,” McAlister wrote. “Some closure, but the passing of Frank’s father, my brother, a couple of months ago (is) too little, too late.

“May Frank and Doug rest in peace.”

Wallace said there is more to the investigation than what has already been released, and that detectives are still questioning people in the case. The department has issued a plea to the public for any information anyone has on McAlister’s slaying. 

Anyone with information can contact investigators at the Redding Police Department at 530-225-4200.

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