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A 1993 California Cold Case Is Closed After Guilty Pleas By A Brother And Sister
Curtis And Shanna Culver have both pleaded guilty to multiple charges in the 1993 killing of Frank McAlister.
Two siblings have pleaded guilty in the killing of 19-year-old Frank McAlister 30 years after his skeletal remains were found by hikers in Shingletown, California, allowing authorities to close the decades-old cold case.
McAlister was reported missing by his then-girlfriend on May 7, 1993. She told authorities that he was driving her car, which was also missing, according to KRCR, a television station in Redding.
Police said the car was later found at a Costco parking lot with what appeared a substantial amount of blood inside.
McAlister had been in a car accident in March 1993 and had collected an insurance settlement check for at least $4,500 the day before he disappeared, according to the Record Searchlight.
Authorities investigated the case for over 20 years but got nowhere until Brian Keith Hawkins confessed to the murder during a gut-wrenching interview with KRCR in 2018. He asked for a smoke and a soda before appearing on camera.
“I’m going to turn myself in, next door at the sheriff’s department, for a crime I was involved in years ago,” he told the station. “And somebody lost their life. Murder.”
Hawkins said he was confessing because of his Christian faith and that he could no longer live with the guilt.
“God and Christ and these things that have happened over the course of 25 years have pushed me to do the right thing. I know the wrong can’t be changed, but this is the closest I can come to doing the right thing.”
Hawkins also named Curtis Culver and Shanna Culver as his accomplices. Both were taken into custody within hours of his confession.
"Horrible, horrible, horrible, absolute horror, absolutely horrible since that day. Every minute of every day has been a nightmare," Hawkins told the station. "Frank never got to have a life, but we were teenagers and now I'm 44 and still haven't even had a life and now most likely won't anyway."
Police had long suspected that Hawkins and the Culvers were the last people to see McAlister alive and interviewed them several times as they investigated the case, but all three had repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance or knowledge of his whereabouts.
Hawkins told police that they planned to rob McAlister. He was going to use the insurance money to buy methamphetamine, which he then planned to sell.
The trio used the drug sale to lure him to Shingletown. Hawkins and Curtis Culver stabbed the victim to death and left his body in the woods, according to the Redding Police Department.
They took his money and car and drove it back to Redding, leaving it in the Costco parking lot.
In November of 2019, Hawkins, now 48, pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree, robbery, and additional special allegations. He will be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, according to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office.
On Friday, Curtis, 49, and Shanna Culver, 45, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, robbery in concert and multiple assault charges. They’re scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 25. Curtis Culver is facing 35 years in state prison and Shanna Culver 20 years.