Court Documents Details Pattern Of Drug Use By Nebraska Mall Gunman

Thursday, December 27th 2007, 6:56 am
By: News On 6

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ The teen gunman who killed eight people and himself in a mall this month once told social workers he was satanic and acknowledged that he often acted before thinking of the consequences, according to newly released court records.

Robert Hawkins' file includes hundreds of pages of court transcripts, drug tests and letters from caseworkers, therapists and family members. They give the clearest picture yet of a young man who told a therapist in April 2005 that ``he is not sure if there is a God or life after death and that when he dies, he'll probably go to hell.''

More than two years later, on Dec. 5, the 19-year-old Hawkins walked into a department store in the Westroads Mall and shot 11 people, then committed suicide.

A judge on Wednesday ordered the documents released after motions were filed by several news organizations, including The Associated Press.

In one report, Hawkins, who had been in and out of the juvenile justice system since he was 14, told a social worker he was feeling overwhelmed by court hearings and school and tried to kill himself.

He told the social worker, Angela Pick, that he wanted to die when he swallowed about 30 Tylenol pills in January 2006, she wrote in a report to Sarpy County Juvenile Court.

Her report said Hawkins ended up in the emergency room. He was released to his father six days later, and his demeanor ``appeared to improve. His father and this worker observed him to be more positive,'' Pick wrote.

``He said that he never wanted to go through that again,'' she wrote.

Hawkins became a ward of the state in 2002, after a stay in a Missouri treatment facility for threatening to kill his stepmother.

He was released from state custody in August 2006 after caseworkers, therapists and his family agreed that the extra nine months he could have remained in custody until he turned 19 wouldn't have been worth it, given his lack of cooperation.

``Robbie has been in the court system for many years and has reached maximum benefit from what the department can provide,'' Pick wrote on Aug. 17, 2006. ``He has continued to make some poor decisions but not any that are a safety concern at this time.''

Hawkins became violent with a staff member at a residential treatment program in Omaha in August 2003 and had to be restrained, according to a letter from therapist Steven Moore.

When it was suggested that Hawkins be sent to a residential facility, the teen said, ``I'll burn that (expletive) place down with all of the people in it if you send me there,'' Moore wrote.

A constant theme of court hearings was Hawkins' drug use. He told social workers he started using marijuana at age 13 and typically smoked twice a week.

By age 17, he said, he smoked marijuana almost daily and had snorted cocaine four to five times. He was expelled from school in October 2005 for trying to sell drugs to classmates.

Hawkins shrugged off criticism of his drug use and acknowledged selling drugs to pay for his marijuana habit, the documents said.

While his father, Ron Hawkins, attended most of his son's court hearings, Robert Hawkins had a strained and sometimes nonexistent relationship with his mother, Maribel Rodriguez, the records show.

Social workers didn't know where Rodriguez was living when Hawkins entered state custody. She requested visitation around July 2005, then told her son that if he lived with her he couldn't have contact with his father, according to a social worker's report.

Ron Hawkins said he was at the end of his rope when he agreed that his son should be released from state custody.

``I can not continue like this,'' Ron Hawkins wrote in an e-mail dated Aug. 18, 2006, three days before Hawkins left the system. ``I love my son, but he will not believe or even listen to anything I try to tell him.''

``He will have to stand or fall on his own to learn these lessons about life,'' Ron Hawkins wrote. ``It is beyond my ability and I have to release him to God, praying that He will make sure that nothing happens to him that can not be undone.''