A brother and sister received state prison sentences Thursday for their involvement with the murder of a 19-year-old Redding man in a cold case that spanned more than 25 years.
Curtis Culver and Shanna Culver were sentenced in Shasta County Superior Court for voluntary manslaughter, robbery in concert and multiple assault charges in the 1993 cold case murder of teenager Frank McAlister, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Curtis Culver was sentenced to 35 years in prison while Shanna Culver received a 20-year prison term. Both will be required to serve 85% of their sentences before they’re eligible for parole.
“The investigation was conducted by many members of the Redding Police Department spanning over 27 years,” the DA’s office said.
Curtis Culver, 50, and Shanna Culver, 46, pleaded guilty to the charges in January. They’ve been in jail since Jan. 11, 2018.
Brian Hawkins of Shingletown, the third defendant in the long-running case, was previously sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for his role in the killing of McAlister. Hawkins had pleaded guilty in November 2019 to first-degree murder, robbery and special allegations.
The case dates to May 7, 1993, when McAlister was driven to a remote area in eastern Shasta County and stabbed multiple times in the chest and head.
A hiker found his skeletal remains nearly a year later in April 1994 near Grace and Nora lakes, Redding police said at the time.
McAlister's car was driven to the Redding Costco where it was found abandoned, according to a summary from the DA's office. Police at the time said they found a large amount of blood in the car.
“The case was investigated for years and ultimately went cold,” the DA’s office said.
Detectives got their break on Jan. 9, 2018, when Hawkins went to a local TV station and confessed to the nearly 25-year-old murder.
Hawkins' next stop was the Redding Police Department where Hawkins described the robbery and murder to detective Rusty Bishop, who has since retired.
Hawkins told the detective he committed the murder with the help of the Culvers, who were found and arrested within 12 hours, the DA's office said.
"Suspect Hawkins told investigators he could no longer live with the guilt and wanted to clear his conscience," police said in January 2018.
The DA’s office added that “Hawkins expressed great regret and remorse for his participation in the murder.”
Police said Hawkins, along with Curtis and Shanna Culver, lured McAlister to the Shingletown area to rob him of money from an insurance settlement that he was going to use to buy methamphetamine.
“Shanna and Curtis Culver initially lied and denied any involvement. Ultimately, Curtis Culver admitted that he had a knife during the robbery and hit the victim over the head with a rock after the victim had been stabbed,” the DA’s office said.
Shanna Culver was 17 at the time of the murder and went through a juvenile court transfer process to Superior Court.
At the Culvers’ sentencing, the DA’s office said one of McAlister’s relatives gave a statement in court.
“Frank McAlister’s uncle spoke about how devastating this crime was for his family,” the office said, adding Frank McAlister was the only child to his mother.
Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Support local journalism by subscribing today.
This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Siblings receive prison terms for roles in '93 cold case murder