Appeals court denies death-row inmate's appeal

Thursday, May 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ A federal appeals court refused Wednesday to overturn the death sentence of a man convicted in Oklahoma of abducting and drowning a woman.

Don Wilson Hawkins was convicted of first-degree felony murder for drowning Linda A. Thompson in a lake in Seminole County after she was abducted from an Oklahoma City shopping mall in August 1985.

He was also convicted of kidnapping her children who were in the car at the time Thompson was abducted.

Hawkins claimed his first-degree felony murder conviction was improperly based on the kidnapping for extortion charges, which are not specifically felonies that would warrant a first-degree murder conviction under Oklahoma law.

Hawkins also claimed his trial lawyer was ineffective during sentencing because the lawyer failed to present mitigating evidence.

During the sentencing, the state presented additional evidence concerning Hawkins' violent conduct, including the kidnapping and raping of teen-agers in California shortly after Thompson's murder.

Hawkins instructed his defense attorney not to cross-examine witnesses or raise any objections.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Oklahoma court's interpretation was correct and Hawkins was not deprived of due process.

``Hawkins failed to develop diligently in state court any factual basis upon which this court could resolve this federal habeas claim,'' according to the appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Hawkins' appeal.