The Daily Gamecock

Suspect in Wilson murder denied bond

Hawes waives hearing appearance, will remain in jail

Hank Hawes, the man accused of killing USC education professor Jennifer Wilson, was denied bond in a hearing in Columbia Thursday morning.

Hawes, 37, did not appear at the hearing — his lawyer, Kris Hines of the Richland County Public Defender’s office, said Hawes did “not wish to be present” and would waive his bond.

During the hearing, the prosecutors described in detail the story of the alleged murder. They said Hawes entered Wilson’s Shandon duplex, stabbed her multiple times and “drug her from one room to another.” The statement drew gasps and tears from friends and colleagues present at the hearing. Wilson’s family was not present.

Before the close of the hearing, Circuit Judge Casey Manning made a statement sympathizing with Wilson’s cause.

“My heartfelt sympathies to the victim, Ms. Wilson, and her family,” he said. “It's an indescribable loss for the university.”

He called it “a tragedy of epic proportions.”

“Bond is denied and I suspect it will remain denied,” Manning continued. He said he didn’t foresee Hawes being granted bond unless there was “an intervention from the Almighty, or something like that.”

The judge emphasized that USC and the greater Columbia area are safe.

“The Carolina community is a safe place to send your sons and daughters,” he said.

Wilson’s friend and USC secondary education and English language arts teacher Victoria Oglan said she was “beyond stunned” by the event.

“She was a vibrant, vibrant personality,” she said. “She was a force. When she walked into a room, you knew she was present.”

Oglan said Wilson had expressed to her that she had concerns about her relationship with Hawes.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin appeared at the hearing and offered his take afterward.

“It’s an incredibly sad day,” he said. “Dr. Wilson was a rising star here and working in developing countries across the world. Her death is a grave loss, not just for the university and Columbia, but for the world. I’m glad Judge Manning denied bond.”


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