Don Hawkins executed for killing woman

Wednesday, April 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ It has been 18 years since Linda Ann Thompson was killed, but her mother said Thompson will live forever in her heart.

``I miss my daughter,'' Jennifer Schneider said Tuesday after Thompson's killer, Don Wilson Hawkins, was executed. ``All the family gatherings are missing her _ there's an empty chair that will never be filled.''

Hawkins died at 6:07 p.m. after receiving a mixture of drugs at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. His victim died Aug. 20, 1985, after he pushed her into a Seminole lake and held her under water until she drowned.

Before the execution began, Hawkins lifted his head from the gurney on which he was strapped and smiled in the direction of his family.

``I love you,'' Hawkins said. ``The state needs vengeance for the crimes I've done. They're going to punish my body, but Jesus has forgiven me.''

He added, ``I'm truly sorry I got everyone into this.''

Hawkins' lowered his head and closed his eyes as the drugs were administered, opening them slightly as he died.

``The mills of justice finally came full circle,'' said Lawrence Olson, Thompson's uncle. ``It's important that we remember the victim and her two daughters.''

Hawkins and co-defendant Dale Shelton kidnapped Thompson, 29, from an Oklahoma City shopping mall parking lot with her two daughters, ages 18 months and 4 years.

Hawkins got in Thompson's car, and Shelton followed in Hawkins' car as they drove to a house, where Thompson was separated from her daughters. The girls were kept in a bedroom in the house and she was chained by her ankle to the loft of a barn on the property.

Hawkins talked to Thompson about who could pay a ransom, but later told police he had started to think he wouldn't get any money.

Hawkins said he and Shelton had planned to leave Thompson in a secluded area so they could get away.

The next day, Hawkins and Shelton drove Thompson to Sportsman's Lake near Seminole and hog-tied her. According to court records, Hawkins pushed her into the water after realizing she could identify him and held her there until she drowned.

Hawkins and Shelton dragged her body into a ravine and covered it with brush.

Thompson's daughters were released in the neighborhood where their baby sitter lived.

Hawkins and Shelton were arrested two months later in California, and each confessed to the murder and kidnappings.

Shelton was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the crime.

``Linda will be forever 29,'' Olson said. ``Her children have grown and flourished. We have a wonderful family and we're making it OK.''

His execution is the sixth this year in Oklahoma and the 144th in state history.