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Crime News

Brother And Sister Sentenced For 1993 California Cold Case Murder

Curtis and Shanna Culver will spend decades in prison for the 1993 murder of Frank McAlister, who was then 19 years-old, as part of an effort to rob him.

By Constance Johnson
Curtis Culver Shanna Culver Pd

A brother and sister were sentenced to decades behind bars for their role in a 1993 California cold case murder that was finally solved after a third man walked into a television station in 2018 and confessed.

Curtis Dean Culver was sentenced to 35 years for voluntary manslaughter, robbery in concert and multiple assault charges. His sister, Shanna Culver, was sentenced to 20 years for the same charges, according to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office.

They must serve 85 percent of their time before they are eligible for parole, according to the district attorney.

The siblings pleaded guilty in January.

“Shanna and Curtis Culver initially lied and denied any involvement," the district attorney's office said in a statement, according to Record Searchlight. "Ultimately, Curtis Culver admitted that he had a knife during the robbery and hit the victim over the head with a rock after the victim had been stabbed.”

A handout photo of Frank McAlister

McAlister, 19, was driven by his killers from Redding to a remote location in Shasta County near Shingletown on May 7, 1993, according to authorities. He was stabbed multiple times in the chest and head and his body was abandoned.

The victim's car was left at a Costco in Redding, where it was found with what appeared to be a substantial amount of blood inside.

Hikers discovered McAlister's skeletal remains east of Redding near Shingletown in April 1994, authorities said.

Police said that, around the time of the murder, McAlister had come into thousands of dollars from an insurance settlement and that the siblings, along with Brian Keith Hawkins, wanted to rob him.

They were long viewed as suspects by police but had always denied any involvement.

Authorities investigated the case for years without any substantial leads until Brian Keith Hawkins confessed to the murder during an emotional interview with KRCR in 2018.

Brian Hawkins Pd

“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 at the time that his Christian faith and guilt over the crime had compelled him to come forward.

“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 named the siblings as his accomplices. They were taken into custody a short time later and have been in jail ever since.

"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.”

Hawkins pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, robbery and special allegations in November 2019, according to Record Searchlight. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in March.

When Hawkins was sentenced, McAlister’s family released a statement that was included in the District Attorney’s Facebook page, according to Record Searchlight:

“Murdered at 19 years-old, the criminals involved robbed Frank of a life, the opportunity to create a positive legacy. Frank was denied his whole life filled with opportunity, the creation of a family, a chance to love and be loved,” the statement said. “To this day, our family imagines what life would have been like for all of us had Frank lived to be a part of all of us.”