Former cop pleads guilty in wife's murder case

Posted at 12:36 PM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 15:09:22-04

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A former police officer charged in his wife's shooting death more than a year ago pleaded guilty on Friday.

Jeffrey Hawkins, 58, accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault in the death of his wife, 59-year-old Jo Ann Hawkins, on April 23, 2016. He faces up to 22 years in prison and will be sentenced on June 20.

“I just shot and killed my wife,” Hawkins calmly told a 911 dispatcher after the incident. “(My gun) is on the sink. I’m not a threat to anybody. I’m a former police officer. I’m not sure what happened.”

A medical evaluation found Hawkins is not insane, forcing a change to his guilty by reason of insanity plea in August 2016.

Hawkins was arrested immediately after the shooting and given a $3 million bond. A family spokesman requested a high bond because of fear for their lives if Hawkins were out on bond.

“We’ve been scared in the past. I had an off-and-on relationship with my mom in the past because of him, and we know what he’s capable of,” said Bo Hart, Jo Ann Hawkins' son. Hart added that he had suspected psychological abuse in the past.

Hawkins' calm on the phone broke when he told the 911 operator why he shot his wife.

“She took all the money out of my bank account on my birthday on Saturday,” he said, choking back tears. “You guys were out here a couple times. I don’t know. I came home and she was here. She just wouldn’t talk to me. And she just kept saying, ‘Talk to my lawyer.’

“It just happened. I never wanted to do anything. I’m alright. Well, I’m not alright. God, forgive me.”

You can listen to the 911 call here