Suspect Charged In 24-Year-Old Wagoner County Cold Case

Tuesday, November 5th 2019, 1:03 pm
By: News On 6

The Wagoner County District Attorney said a suspect has been charged in a murder that took place 24 years ago. District Attorney Jack Thorp and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation held a news conference Tuesday to announce new developments in the case.

Donald Hawley was found murdered on April 7, 1995, on a river bank near Lock and Dam #17 in Wagoner County. An affidavit said investigators believe Kenneth Brown robbed Hawley then killed him.

Hawley, 62, died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Brown was convicted in 1998 for another murder that took place in 1995. He is serving a life sentence. Investigators interviewed Brown back in August and said DNA on Hawley's sock found near the crime scene was a match for Brown.

“This was a brutal and senseless murder,” said Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott.

It is believed the motive was a robbery. 

Thorp said the investigation had been ongoing since Hawley's death, and OSBI's Cold Case Unit began focusing on the investigation in the fall of 2018.

"I want individuals to know - especially those family members - they're never cold for us. We consistently work on these cases," he said.

Investigators spoke with Brown from prison in August. He told an OSBI agent he would often smoke crack and meet girls at Lock and Dam 17, but denied any contact with Hawley.

Investigators said they believe Brown worked with an accomplice and asked for anyone who has information to contact the OSBI tip line.

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