Jury recommends maximum sentence in 2019 murder case

·2 min read

Jun. 29—Last Friday, a Cleveland County jury convicted 28-year-old Davante Shontrell Hunter for the first-degree murder of James Keith Hawkins.

The jury returned the guilty verdict after about fours of deliberation, recommending the maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Twenty witnesses were called to testify during the trial, all by the prosecution. Hunter chose not to take the stand, and did not call any witnesses of his own.

On Dec. 5, 2019, Norman police were called to Hawkins' apartment, located in the 3000 block of Pheasant Run Road, in reference to a welfare check, according to a police affidavit.

When officers arrived, they noticed dried blood outside Hawkins' apartment and on the door. Once inside the apartment, police found Hawkins, 63, dead on the floor in the living room with a gunshot wound to the head.

One day after finding Hawkins, Norman police identified Hunter as a suspect. Hunter was brought in for questioning later that day.

During the two-and-a-half hour long interview with police, Hunter admitted he and Hawkins got into an argument, which later escalated into a fight.

"[Hawkins] pulled his gun out on me, and I disarmed him," Hunter said during the interview. "I took his [billy club] and hit him across the leg with it, and then I took the gun."

Hunter then admitted to shooting Hawkins.

"I shot him," he said. "I was in panic. I left and threw the gun in the [creek] by the Brookhaven Funeral Home."

Investigators were able to find the gun in a creek near Robinson Avenue and 36th NW Avenue. Five days after the interview with police, Hunter was charged with first-degree murder.

Hunter has prior misdemeanor convictions in Cleveland County for public intoxication and obstructing an officer. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25.

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