Gadsden resident Brandon Hawkins, 21, was arrested Dec. 7 after a three-month investigation led Oxford police to name him as the main suspect in the Papa John’s case.
Hawkins is charged with capital murder, robbery and second-degree assault. He’s accused of entering the pizza shop on Snow Street in Oxford, shooting to death assistant manager Barbara Exum, stealing cash from the register and assaulting a second assistant manager. That crime happened on Sept. 9.
Now, Anniston investigators are saying that a week after the Papa John’s incident occurred, Hawkins attempted to rob H R’s Food Mart at 939 Clydesdale Ave. in Anniston. Anniston police Capt. Richard Smith said Thursday that a fingerprint found on a pistol left behind at the store belonged to Hawkins, who has a criminal record.
H R’s Food Mart was robbed the night of Sept. 16. Employees told police that a man dressed in all-black clothing entered the store late that night and pointed a pistol at the worker behind the register.
But another male employee was working in the back of the store that night, Smith said.
Investigators said that employee surprised Hawkins when he came out from behind a store shelf.
The suspect and the worker got into a brief fight, Smith said, and the pistol was wrenched from the suspect’s hand.
When the gun fell to the floor, the suspect fled, according to a police report.
The employees chased him briefly but lost sight of him when he turned down an alley, Smith said.
Upon arriving at the store, investigators recovered the pistol as evidence and took it to the department’s crime lab for analysis.
A fingerprint was found on the magazine that was left in the gun, Smith said. When crime scene investigators ran the print through the department’s criminal fingerprint database, Hawkins’ name popped up. The Gadsden man was on probation for a charge that cannot be disclosed, because he pleaded guilty to it as a youthful offender.
Another witness also identified Hawkins as “being in the area” of the store on Sept. 16, Smith said.
Anniston police obtained a warrant for first-degree robbery earlier this week. Investigators charged Hawkins with the crime Wednesday at the Calhoun County Jail, where he is in custody on the charges from the Oxford Police Department.
Oxford police Chief Bill Partridge said his investigators had not yet recovered the gun they believe Hawkins used to shoot Exum during the robbery at Papa John’s.
But Partridge said he did not believe the gun used in the H R’s Food Mart robbery was the same one used at the Oxford pizza shop. He declined to elaborate on why he didn’t think the weapons matched, noting that his department’s case was still under investigation.
Reached Thursday, H R’s Food Mart personnel said the workers who were present the night of the robbery were not available for comment.
Star staff writer Cameron Steele: 256-235-3562.